Research Integrity

James Cook University promotes and fosters a research environment of intellectual honesty, integrity and scholarly and scientific rigour and expects our researchers to uphold the general principles of research conduct in all aspects of their research.  

The University provides Policy and Procedures for research conduct, management and governance, which provide a framework and guidance for best practice in research and responsible research conduct.

The James Cook University Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research (Research Code) sets out JCU’s expectations for the conduct of all persons engaged in research under the auspices of the University. The JCU Research Code was adapted from the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research (National Code) that was jointly developed by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), The Australian Research Council (ARC) and Universities Australia.

The JCU Research Code consists of eight general principles of responsible research conduct, thirteen institutional responsibilities and sixteen researcher responsibilities.

These principles and responsibilities must be followed when conducting research.

The eight general Principles of the Research Code are the foundation of research culture at JCU:

  • Principle 1 Honesty in the development, undertaking and reporting of research
  • Principle 2 Rigour in the development, undertaking and reporting of research
  • Principle 3 Transparency in declaring interests and reporting research methodology, data and findings
  • Principle 4 Fairness in the treatment of others
  • Principle 5 Respect for research participants, the wider community, animals and 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
  • Principle 7 Accountability for the development, undertaking and reporting of research
  • Principle 8 Promotion of responsible research practices

The JCU Research Code is supported by a number of JCU Procedures. These Procedures have been adapted from the relevant NHMRC Guides that were released to support the National Code.

The Managing and Investigating Potential Breaches of the James Cook University Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research (Research Code) Procedure, forms a critical framework to underpin, enact and respond to breaches of the Research Code. It provides a framework for managing, investigating allegations and resolving breaches under the Research Code. The Procedure applies to all persons engaged in research under JCU auspices. The Procedure outlines the steps that must be followed when an allegation of a potential breach of the Research Code or research misconduct is made.

JCU is committed and has an obligation to encourage and support the responsible conduct of research and is accountable for that conduct. JCU has a responsibility for the prevention, detection, investigation and resolution of complaints about the conduct of research.

Individuals who have concerns regarding research conduct or practices or are unsure whether the concern relates to research integrity, should first contact the Research Integrity Advisor (RIA) of the relevant College or Directorate. The RIA will be able to provide advice about the concern. They will not be involved in any assessment of investigation of the matter.

If a matter remains unresolved or concerns have not been addressed a formal complaint can be made in writing directly to the Research Integrity Office at [email protected].

Complaints may be lodged anonymously or by a third party, but this may limit JCU’s ability to assess the complaint or confirm the details with the complainant.

Managing Complaints

Any complaints received by JCU are managed in compliance with the Managing and Investigating Potential Breaches of the James Cook University Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research (Research Code) Procedure. The Procedure outlines the process to manage any complaints from initial assessment, preliminary assessment by an Assessment Officer and if required, to an investigation by an Investigation Panel.

Upon completion a Preliminary Assessment or Investigation, all relevant parties including the complainant/s, respondent/s and other related parties (such as funding bodies) will be notified of the determination in writing.

Instructions to access LearnJCU and the training modules can be found here

James Cook University must provide training and education for anyone who conducts or assists with the conduct of research under JCU’s auspices. The training modules for the JCU Research Code of Conduct are provided through Learn JCU where we have created a research staff portal organised by the College/Directorate.

There are two compulsory modules that must be completed by JCU research staff:

  • Research Integrity Compulsory Module 1 “The Responsible Conduct of Research”
  • Research Integrity Compulsory Module 2 “When things go wrong – Breaches of the Code”

A brief quiz will be required to be completed for each module. Once the quiz is complete a “declaration of completion” for the module will be generated.

Researchers are required to fulfill their obligations under the JCU Research Code in relation to training and education and should complete the six other modules in the research integrity series. The six modules are:

  • Planning your research
  • Managing and recording your research
  • Data selection, analysis and presentation
  • Scholarly publication
  • Professional responsibilities
  • Communication and social responsibilities.