Policy Academic Governance Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research

Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research

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This Policy (Research Code) outlines the expectations upon James Cook University (JCU; the University) and its researchers to foster and maintain a research environment of intellectual honesty, integrity, and scholarly and scientific rigour.

This Policy has been adapted from the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research (The National Code), released in June 2018 and co-authored by the National Health and Medical Research Council, Australian Research Council and Universities Australia.

The Principles of this Policy and of the National Code provide the core behaviours of an honest, ethical and conscientious research culture and must be followed when conducting research. The Research Code consists of eight general principles of responsible research conduct, thirteen institutional responsibilities and sixteen researcher responsibilities. The definitions, principles and other text in this policy are reproduced from the National Code.

This Policy addresses Higher Education Standards Framework Standards 4.1, 5.2.2, 5.2.3 and 5.2.4.


This Policy applies to all persons engaged in research under the auspices of the University.


Terms mentioned in this document and not defined here are defined in the Policy Glossary.


The 3Rs are three principles that underpin a systematic framework to achieve the goal of humane experimental techniques involving animals. The principles are: Replacement of animals with other methods; Reduction in the number of animals used; Refinement of techniques used to minimise the adverse impact on animals.

Balance of probabilities

The civil standard of proof, which requires that, on the weight of evidence, it is more probable than not that a breach has occurred.


A failure to meet the principles and responsibilities of the Research Code. May refer to a single breach or multiple breaches.

Conflict of Interest

A conflict of interest exists in a situation where an independent observer might reasonably conclude that the professional actions of a person are or may be unduly influenced by other interests. This refers to a financial or non-financial interest which may be a perceived, potential or actual conflict of interest.


James Cook University

Peer Review

The impartial and independent assessment of research by others working in the same or a related field.


The concept of research is broad and includes the creation of new knowledge and/or the use of existing knowledge in a new and creative way so as to generate new concepts, methodologies, inventions and understandings. This could include synthesis and analysis of previous research to the extent that it is new and creative.

Research Ethics

Obligations under ethics guidelines and Codes (see Related documents and legislation)


Person (or persons) who conducts, or assists with the conduct of research under the auspices of the University.


1. Principles of responsible research conduct

The eight general principles of the Research Code are the foundation of research culture at JCU. These principles mandate the conduct of research and the University and Researchers must commit to maintaining a strong research culture that demonstrates:

Principle 1

Honesty in the development, undertaking and reporting of research

Present information truthfully and accurately in proposing, conducting and reporting research.

Principle 2

Rigour in the development, undertaking and reporting of research

Underpin research by attention to detail and robust methodology, avoiding or acknowledging biases.

Principle 3

Transparency in declaring interests and reporting research methodology, data and findings.

Share and communicate research methodology, data and findings openly, responsibly and accurately.

Disclose and manage conflicts of interest.

Principle 4

Fairness in the treatment of others

Treat fellow researchers and others involved in the research fairly and with respect. Appropriately reference and cite the work of others.

Give credit, including authorship where appropriate, to those who have contributed to the research.

Principle 5

Respect for research participants, the wider community, animals and the environment Treat human participants and communities that are affected by the research with care and respect, giving appropriate consideration to the needs of minority groups or vulnerable people.

Ensure that respect underpins all decisions and actions related to the care and use of animals in research.

Minimise adverse effects of the research on the environment.

Principle 6

Recognition of the right of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to be engaged in research that affects or is of particular significance to them.

Recognise, value and respect the diversity, heritage, knowledge, cultural property and connection to land of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Engage with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples prior to research being undertaken, so that they freely make decisions about their involvement.

Report to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples the outcomes of research in which they have engaged.

Principle 7

Accountability for the development, undertaking and reporting of research Comply with relevant legislation, policies and guidelines.

  • Ensure good stewardship of public resources used to conduct research.
  • Consider the consequences and outcomes of research prior to its communication.

Principle 8

Promotion of responsible research practices.

Promote and foster a research culture and environment that supports the responsible conduct of research.

2. Responsibilities of the University

JCU has an obligation to encourage and support the responsible conduct of research and is accountable for that conduct. The University will ensure that documents that guide good research conduct, management and governance, including this Research Code, are readily available to all researchers (including through the online Policy Library).

Therefore the University undertakes to:

Responsibility 1

Establish and maintain good governance and management practices for responsible research conduct.

Responsibility 2

Identify and comply with relevant laws, regulations, guidelines and policies related to the conduct of research.

Responsibility 3

Develop and maintain the currency and ready availability of a suite of policies and procedures which ensure that institutional practices are consistent with the principles and responsibilities of the Research Code.

Responsibility 4

Provide ongoing training and education that promotes and supports responsible research conduct for all researchers and those in other relevant roles.

Responsibility 5

Ensure supervisors of research trainees have the appropriate skills, qualifications and resources.

Responsibility 6

Identify and train Research Integrity Advisors who assist in the promotion and fostering of responsible research conduct and provide advice to those with concerns about potential breaches of the Research Code.

Responsibility 7

Support the responsible dissemination of research findings. Where necessary, take action to correct the record in a timely manner.

Responsibility 8

Provide access to facilities for the safe and secure storage and management of research data, records and primary materials and, where possible and appropriate, allow access and reference.

Responsibility 9

Facilitate the prevention and detection of potential breaches of the Code.

Responsibility 10

Provide mechanisms to receive concerns or complaints about potential breaches of the Research Code. Investigate and resolve potential breaches of the Research Code.

Responsibility 11

Ensure that the process for managing and investigating concerns or complaints about potential breaches of the Research Code is timely, effective and in accord with procedural fairness.

Responsibility 12

Support the welfare of all parties involved in an investigation of a potential breach of the Research Code.

Responsibility 13

Base findings of investigations on the balance of probabilities and ensure any actions are commensurate with the seriousness of the breach.

3.  Responsibilities of Researchers

Researchers are expected to uphold the general principles of responsible research conduct in all aspects of their research, this means to foster and maintain a research environment of intellectual honesty, integrity, and scholarly and scientific rigour. There are sixteen researcher responsibilities of the Research Code, which researchers must comply with as follows:

Responsibility 14

Support a culture of responsible research conduct at their institution and in their field of practice.

Responsibility 15

Provide guidance and mentorship on responsible research conduct to other researchers or research trainees under their supervision and, where appropriate, monitor their conduct.

Responsibility 16

Undertake and promote education and training in responsible research conduct.

Responsibility 17

Comply with the relevant laws, regulations, disciplinary standards, ethics guidelines and institutional policies related to responsible research conduct. Ensure that appropriate approvals are obtained prior to the commencement of research, and that conditions of any approvals are adhered to during the course of research.

Responsibility 18

Ensure that the ethics principles of research merit and integrity, justice, beneficence and respect are applied to human research.

Responsibility 19

Engage with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and respect their legal rights and local laws, customs and protocols.

Responsibility 20

Ensure that the 3Rs (Replacement, Reduction and Refinement) are considered at all stages of research involving animals and minimise the impacts on animals used in research and in so doing support the welfare and wellbeing of these animals.

Responsibility 21

Adopt methods appropriate to the aims of the research and ensure that conclusions are justified by the results.

Responsibility 22

Retain clear, accurate, secure and complete records of all research including research data and primary materials. Where possible and appropriate, allow access and reference to these by interested parties.

Responsibility 23

Disseminate research findings responsibly, accurately and broadly. Where necessary, take action to correct the record in a timely manner.

Responsibility 24

Disclose and manage actual, potential or perceived conflicts of interest.

Responsibility 25

Ensure that authors of research outputs are all those, and only those, who have made a significant intellectual or scholarly contribution to the research and its output, and that they agree to be listed as an author.

Responsibility 26

Acknowledge those who have contributed to the research.

Responsibility 27

Cite and acknowledge other relevant work appropriately and accurately.

Responsibility 28

Participate in peer review in a way that is fair, rigorous and timely and maintains the confidentiality of the content.

Responsibility 29

Report suspected breaches of the Research Code to the relevant institution and/or authority.

Related policy instruments

Authorship Procedure

Collaborative Research Procedure

Disclosure of Interest and Management of Conflicts of Interest Procedure

Managing and Investigating Potential Breaches of the JCU Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research

Peer Review Procedure

Publication and Dissemination of Research Procedure

Research Integrity Advisor Procedure

Researcher Supervision Procedure



Other related documents and legislation

National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research (National Statement)

Australian code for the care and use of animals for scientific purposes

Animal Care and Protection Act 2001 (Qld)

Ethical conduct in research with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples and communities: Guidelines for researchers and Stakeholders 2018

Keeping research on track II 2018


NOTE: Printed copies of this policy are uncontrolled, and currency can only be assured at the time of printing.

Approval Details

Policy DomainAcademic Governance
Policy Sub-domainResearch Management
Policy CustodianDeputy Vice Chancellor, Research
Approval AuthorityAcademic Board
Date for next Major Review03/06/2029

Revision History


Approval date

Approval authority

Implementation date



24-103/06/2024Academic Board19/06/2024Major review - no amendments.Director, Research and Innovation Services



Academic Board


Policy reviewed and amended to align with the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research

Manager, Research Grants, Ethics and Integrity




Changes made to reflect headline restructure 30/4/2018

Quality, Standards and Policy





Update role title to reflect current organisational structure

Quality, Standards and Policy





Minor (consequential) amendments made to delegations throughout the  Code to reflect the 14 July 2016 Council approved Academic and Student Delegation Register. Contact Quality, Standards and Policy Office for details.



Research, integrity, research code, responsible, conduct

Contact personManager, Research and Innovation Services