2000-3-2 Responsible Conduct of Research
Upon request, the college will provide a copy of this policy in an alternate format.
Table of Contents
- Responsibilities of Researchers
- Breaches by Researchers
- Responsibilities of the College
- Responsibilities of Agencies
Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) is the behaviour expected of anyone who conducts or supports research activities throughout the life cycle of a research project (i.e., from the formulation of the research question, through the design, conduct, collection of data, and analysis of the research, to its reporting, publication, and dissemination, as well as the management of research funds). It involves the awareness and application of established professional norms, as well as values and ethical principles that are essential in the performance of all activities related to research. These values include honesty, fairness, trust, accountability, and openness.
Lambton College (herein after referred to as College) recognizes the importance of integrity in research and so strives to ensure the realization of high standards of research integrity. The College will promote integrity in research by creating and supporting an environment in which researchers, scholars, students, and employees are aware of the importance of integrity in research, are able to achieve the highest standards of research integrity and are expected to do so.
Integrity in research goes beyond the avoidance of wrongdoing. Integrity also requires adherence to the highest standards of intellectual honesty, appropriate research methodology, ethical standards of discipline, the careful supervision of research, and the refusal to engage in or condone fraud or misconduct.
This policy has been developed to ensure compliance with the Tri-Agency Framework: Responsible Conduct of Research and applies to any employee or student of the College and any other individual in any capacity in research at, or associated with the College (hereinafter referred to as Researchers.)
The objectives of this policy are to:
- Ensure that funding decisions are made based on correct and reliable information;
- ensure public funds are used diligently and in accordance with funding agreements;
- promote and protect the research work funded by the agencies;
- promote fairness in the conduct of research and the process for addressing claims related to the breach of policy.
Responsibilities of Researchers
- All the Researchers engaged expressly or implied in research work or applying or receiving any agency funds shall comply with the policy.
Promotion of Research Integrity
- Researchers involved in research are expected to be aware of the College policy on research integrity and are expected to follow the best research practices honestly, accountability, openly, and fairly in the search for and in dissemination of knowledge. In addition, all employees and students involved in research are required to undertake professional development on the College research policies prior to beginning any research project.
- At a minimum, the responsibility of Researchers shall include the following, but are not limited to:
- Rigour - while recording, evaluating, and interpreting data and in reporting and publishing data and findings, Researchers are expected to use high level of rigour.
- Record Keeping - scientific and scholarly inquiry is dependent upon the integrity of accurately recorded data. Researchers must retain the original and accurate records of data, methodologies, and findings, including graphs and images not only to ensure the integrity and credibility of the data but to also allow verification or replication of the work by others.
- Accurate Referencing, Authorship & Acknowledgement - to ensure the accurate publication of scholarly reports, two requirements must be met:
- the active participation of each author in verifying and taking responsibility for the part of the manuscript that she has contributed; and
- the designation of one author who is responsible for the validity of the entire manuscript.
- The principal criterion for authorship should be that each author has made a significant intellectual and practical contribution. The concept of honorary authorship is unacceptable. Student shall be given the appropriate recognition for authorship
or data collection in any publication. The details can be found in the Authorship in Scholarly or Scientific Publications or Presentations (2000-3-8) policy.
- Conflict of Interest Management - an essential component of research integrity is promptly identifying and addressing any real, potential or perceived conflict of interest. The College in accordance with the Research Conflict of Interest (2000-3-3) policy shall address the conflict to ensure that the objective of the RCR Framework (Article 1.3) are met.
Applying for & Holding Agency Funding
- While applying for any agency funding or grant, Researchers must fulfil the below criteria:
- Applicants and holders of agency grants, and awards shall provide true, complete and accurate information in their funding applications and related documents and represent themselves, their research and their accomplishments in a manner consistent with the norms of the relevant field.
- Researchers may apply for funding only if they are not currently ineligible for, and/or hold, funds from NSERC, SSHRC, CIHR or any other research funding organization worldwide for reasons of breach of responsible conduct of research policies such as ethics, integrity or financial management policies.
- Principal funding applicants must ensure that others listed on the application have agreed to be included.
Management of Grant & Award Funds
- Researchers are responsible for using grant of award funds in accordance with the policies of the funding agencies, including the Tri-Agency Guide on Financial Administration and agency grants and awards guides, and for providing true, complete and accurate information on documentation for expenditures from grant or award accounts.
Requirements for Certain Research
- Researchers must comply with all applicable agency requirements and legislation for the conduct of research, including, but not limited to:
- 2nd edition of Tri-Council Policy Statement: Ethical Conduct of Research Involving Humans (TCPS 2),
- Canadian Council on Animal Care Policies and Guidelines,
- Agency policies related to the Impact Assessment Act,
- Licenses for research in the field,
- Laboratory Biosafety Guidelines,
- Controlled Goods Program,
- Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) Regulations, and
- Canada's Food and Drugs Act.
Rectifying a Breach of Agency Policy and Participation in Agency Review Processes
- Researchers in breach of an Agency policy shall proactively rectify a breach.
- The Participants in Agency review processes must comply with the Conflict of Interest and Confidentiality Policy of the Federal Research Funding Organizations.
- Participants in Agency review processes shall not be under investigation for an alleged breach of the RCR Framework or any other responsible conduct of research policies such as ethics, integrity, or financial management policies. If participants find themselves under investigation, they must temporarily withdraw themselves from participation in the agency review process until the investigation is complete and a determination is made by the Agency whether they can resume their participation.
Appropriate Supervision & Training in the Conduct of Research
- All Researchers are responsible for familiarizing themselves with principles of responsible conduct of research and for the application of these principles to foster a positive and constructive research-working environment. Researchers with oversight roles should provide appropriate supervision of, and training to, their trainees and research personnel in responsible conduct of research.
Breaches by Researchers
- Researchers associated directly or indirectly with any agency funding within Canada or outside Canada, by signing the applications for grant or award agrees to abide with this policy as well as the Tri-Agency Framework: Responsible Conduct of Research. In determining the breach, the intention shall not be taken into account however, intent shall be considered while determining the severity of the recourse that may be imposed.
Breaches of Responsible Conduct of Research Policy
- The following behaviours or actions demonstrate a lack of research integrity and constitute a breach of Tri-Agency Research Integrity Policy:
- Fabrication - making up data, source material, methodologies, or findings, including graphs and images.
- Falsification - manipulating, changing, or omitting data, source material, methodologies or findings, including graphs and images, without appropriate acknowledgement, such that the record is not accurately represented.
- Intentional misrepresentation of research data.
- Serious deviation from appropriate research practices that are commonly accepted within the scholarly and scientific community for proposing, conducting, or reporting research.
- The destruction of one's own or another's research data or records or in contravention of the applicable funding agreement, College policy and/or laws, regulations, and professional or disciplinary standards. This also includes the destruction of data or records to avoid the detection of wrongdoing.
- Unauthorized appropriation of another’s work, or theft of ideas or intellectual property, or plagiarism.
- The re-publication of one's own previously published work or part thereof, or data, in the same or another language, without adequate acknowledgment of the source, or justification.
- Inadequate acknowledgement - failure to recognize or acknowledge the contribution of others, including co-researchers, research assistants and students.
- Unauthorized use of unpublished works of researchers and scholars.
- Copyright violations of archival material.
- Inaccurate attribution of authorship, including attribution of authorship to persons other than those who have contributed sufficiently to take responsibility for the intellectual content, or agreeing to be listed as author to a publication for which one made little or no material contribution.
- Failure to appropriately manage any real, potential, or perceived conflict of interest, in accordance with the college's policy on conflict of interest in research.
- Preventing one or more of the objectives of the Framework from being met.
- Harassment, discrimination, or abuse as defined in the College Harassment and Discrimination policy.
- Coercion by senior officials or persons in a position of power, research sponsors, private or public organizations or government agencies of supervisory staff, research staff, students etc.
- Abuse of power by supervisory staff directed at collaborators, assistants, students and others associated with the research.
- Financial misconduct including but not limited to failure to account for, or misapplication or misuse of, funds or facilities or materials acquired for support of research, failure to comply with the terms and conditions of grants and contracts, and the use of the College resources, facilities, and equipment without approval of the College.
- Failure to comply with applicable federal or provincial statutes, regulations, or legislation for the protection of researchers, human subjects or participants, or failure to have due regard for the health and safety of co-workers, the general public, or for the welfare of laboratory animals.
- Failure to meet any other relevant legal requirements that relate to the performance of research, or, for grant holders, failure to meet the requirements or regulations of the relevant agency concerning the performance of research.
- Failure to manage appropriately any real, potential, or perceived conflict of interest.
- Misrepresentation in an agency application or related document.
- Mismanagement of grants or award funds (e.g. using grant or award funds for purposes inconsistent with the policies of the agency; misappropriating grants and award funds; contravening agency financial policies; providing incomplete, inaccurate or false information on documentation for expenditures from grant or award accounts.)
- Failure to meet agency policy requirements or comply with relevant policies, laws, or regulations for the conduct of research activities, or obtain appropriate approvals, permits or certifications before conducting research activities.
Role of Researchers in Addressing Policy Breach Allegations
- Researchers play a key role in the process of addressing any allegation of breach fairly and in a timely fashion. Researchers shall report in writing, any information pertaining to a possible breach, to the Vice-President, Research & Innovation and shall send a copy of the report to the Secretariat on Responsible Conduct of Research (SRCR).
Responsibilities of the College
- To fulfil the eligibility criteria for any grant application, the College must meet the minimum requirement set in the Agreement on the administration of Agency grants and funding.
Promoting Research Integrity, Awareness and Education
- The College shall strive to promote the importance of research integrity and provide an environment that fosters researchers’ abilities to work with honesty, accountability and due diligence.
- The College shall be responsible for promoting awareness of what constitutes research integrity policy, consequences of failing to meet them and the procedure for addressing allegations.
- Subject to the applicable laws, including the privacy laws, every year, the total number of policy breaches shall be posted internally by the College.
- The College shall report annually to the SRCR, the total number of allegations received involving Agency funds, the number of confirmed breaches and the nature of those breaches, subject to applicable laws, including privacy laws.
Addressing Allegations of Breaches
- As far as is possible and subject to certain exceptions, the College shall protect the privacy of complainant(s) and respondent(s).
- In the event of appearance of any evidence or allegations of a breach of research integrity, the College shall undertake an investigation to determine if, in fact, a breach has occurred.
- Anonymous complaints will not normally be considered; however, if compelling evidence is received from an anonymous source, the investigation process may be initiated.
- A person who believes that there has been a breach of the Research Integrity policy may seek an informal discussion and clarification of his/her concerns with the Vice-President, Research & Innovation. Following the discussion, the person may or may not choose to request an investigation.
- A person who believes that there has been a breach of the Research Integrity policy may request a preliminary investigation from the Vice-President, Research & Innovation.
- The Vice-President, Research & Innovation shall be the first point of contact for all internal and external complaints or allegations concerning research integrity.
- A complaint in writing shall identify the person or persons who made the allegations if the Vice-President, Research & Innovation deems that such identification is necessary to evaluate the complaint.
- No person making a complaint shall be identified to other parties unless that person has expressly so agreed. The Vice-President, Research & Innovation shall keep all complaints and allegations confidential.
- Under exceptional circumstances, the College, if it deems necessary or upon Agency’s request may take immediate action to protect the funds. Immediate action shall include freezing grant accounts, requiring a second authorized signature from the College representative on all expenses charged to the researcher’s grant accounts, or other measures, as the Vice-President, Research & Innovation considers appropriate.
- In the event, where the allegation has occurred in the premises of another institution (whether as an employee, a student or in some other capacity), the institution that receives the allegation will contact the designated point of contact of the College to determine which college/institution shall be best to conduct the inquiry. The complainant shall be informed about the location and the point of contact for the allegation
Investigation of Allegations
- An initial inquiry process to establish whether an allegation is responsible and if an investigation is required. An inquiry shall be conducted by Vice-President, Research & Innovation and/or more individuals qualified to assess whether the allegation is responsible. The individual(s) conducting an inquiry should be without conflict of interest, whether real, potential, or perceived.
- Upon receipt of a complaint, the Vice-President, Research & Innovation shall, within ten working days of the receipt of a complaint, initiate a preliminary investigation into the allegations and discuss with the researcher, whose conduct is in question, the nature of the Vice-President's concern or the complaint and the circumstances surrounding it.
- Complaints shall contain sufficient details to enable the person against whom the allegation has been made (the respondent) to understand the matter that is to be investigated.
- If, in the opinion of the Vice-President, Research & Innovation, a satisfactory resolution of a complaint is possible, the Vice-President shall attempt such a resolution. Similarly, a satisfactory resolution of an investigation launched on the Vice-President’s initiative shall be attempted.
- If the resolution is successfully implemented, the Vice-President, Research & Innovation shall inform the complainant of the resolution within ten days from the date of resolution.
- In the event the Vice-President, Research & Innovation determines that the complaint is without foundation, then the Vice-President, Research & Innovation may dismiss the complaint and will immediately advise the complainant, accordingly, providing in writing justification for the decision.
- The complainant may appeal the resolution or the decision to dismiss the complaint. The complainant must notify the Vice-President, Research & Innovation, within 10 days of receipt of notification of the resolution or complaint dismissal, of the desire for an appeal. The complainant shall be given the opportunity to present, orally or in writing, to the Senior Vice-President, Academic & Student Success. The Senior Vice-President, Academic & Student Success will make a determination within five days of the complainant’s appeal whether to dismiss or go forward with a formal investigation. The decision is final.
- In the event the Vice-President, Research & Innovation is unable to achieve a satisfactory resolution or determines that an investigation beyond the preliminary estimation is required, or the complainant is successful in the appeal to the Senior Vice-President, Academic & Student Success, the Vice-President confirms the decision to carry out a formal investigation.
- The Vice-President, Research & Innovation will strike an Investigation Panel of three independent persons with relevant experience in the areas of research and scholarship, and at least one of whom is external to the College, to conduct a formal investigation. No member of the department or school involved with the research in question shall be among the three persons appointed.
- The Investigation Panel will conduct interviews, review documents, and undertake any other investigative actions that they deem appropriate and necessary to determine the facts.
- The respondent has the right to know the allegations and to answer the allegations before the Investigation Panel both orally and in writing.
- The Investigation Panel shall, at its discretion, interview the complainant, respondent, and any other persons it deems relevant. Individuals being interviewed by the Investigation Panel shall be permitted to be accompanied by an advocate of their choosing.
- The Investigation Panel will address the allegations and determine their merit and will do so fairly and in a manner consistent with the principles of natural justice.
- The Investigation Panel shall have maximum of two calendar months from the date of its appointment to make the determination and report in writing to the Senior Vice-President, Academic & Student Success.
- The decision of the Investigation Panel shall be binding on the College pending appeal as outlined in the below section.
- The Investigation Panel may recommend sanctions. The determination and application of any sanctions lies with the Senior Vice-President , Academic & Student Success. The Senior Vice-President, Academic & Student Success will inform the respondent of the sanction or disciplinary action within five working days of receiving the Panel report.
- The Senior Vice-President, Academic & Student Success will provide a copy of the Investigation Panel report to the respondent, complainant and the Vice-President, Research & Innovation within five (5) working days.
- The respondent may appeal the decision of the Investigation Panel to the Senior Vice-President, Academic & Student Success in writing within ten days of receipt of the report.
- The Senior Vice-President, Academic & Student Success shall consider the appeal and confirm or amend the decision of the Investigation Panel. The decision is final.
- The College shall disclose information on the measures that it may take to improve its processes including training because of the allegation. Information should be provided in a manner consistent with the privacy law applicable to the College and/or the Investigation Panel that are conducting the inquiry or investigation. Recourse against a respondent shall only be shared with the respondent, or those who are authorized to receive this personal information.
- In the event an allegation is determined to be unfounded, the College shall take all reasonable efforts to protect or restore the reputation of those subjected to an unfounded allegation.
- In those cases, in which the Investigation Panel determines that misconduct or breach of the Research Integrity policy has occurred, such a determination shall be cause for sanctions or discipline. The sanctions or discipline applied will be dependent
on the type and seriousness of the offence or misconduct. Sanctions may include, but are not limited to, any of the following, individually or in combination:
- Restitution - repair, replace and/or restore any damaged or lost materials
- Verbal reprimand with specifics related to the infraction
- Written reprimand placed in the employees file with the specifics related to the nature of the infraction and consequences should an infraction occur again
- Repayment of any resources misappropriated
- A fine
- Dismissal from employment
- The respondent may appeal the sanction or disciplinary actions to the President of the College within five working days of receiving notification of the sanction or disciplinary action. The President will consider the appeal and confirm or amend the sanction or disciplinary action. The President will notify the respondent within five working days of receiving the appeal.
- In cases where a breach of the Research Integrity policy has involved the College faculty or support staff and a sanction or disciplinary action has occurred, the faculty member or support staff member retains the right to appeal the sanction or disciplinary action, but not the decision of the Investigation Panel, through the relevant Collective Agreement.
External Reporting Requirements
- Subject to any applicable laws, including privacy laws, the College shall advise the relevant Agency or SRCR immediately of any allegations related to activities funded by the Agency. The College shall inform SRCR whether or not the College is proceeding with an investigation.
- If a breach is confirmed, the College shall submit a report to SRCR and the relevant Agency on each investigation conducted in response to the breach.
- Subject to any applicable laws, including privacy laws, each report shall include:
- the specific allegation(s), a summary of the finding(s) and reasons for the finding(s);
- the process and time lines followed for the inquiry and/or investigation;
- the researcher’s response to the allegation, investigation and findings, and any measures the researcher has taken to rectify the breach; and
- the College investigation committee’s decisions and recommendations
- The College shall submit an inquiry letter to the SRCR, within two months of receipt of an allegation whether or not misconduct is concluded to have occurred.
- If the investigation was initiated and where misconduct is found to have occurred, the College shall have additional five months following the end of the inquiry to conduct an investigation and submit its report to the SRCR. Hence, the College is
expected to submit its report within seven months from the date of receipt of allegation.
The above-mentioned timelines may be extended under exceptional circumstances and in consultation with SCRS.
- The College shall send updates to the SRCR at such time interval as may be decided between SCRC and the College.
- The College and the Researcher shall not enter into any agreements that may prevent the College from reporting to the Agencies through the SRCR.
- In cases where the source of funding is unclear, the SRCR has right to request information and reports from the College.
- Reports and records will be kept by the Human Resources Department. See Records Retention (1000-1-3) policy.
- Access to investigation records will be by application to the Director, Human Resources. Development Access to records pertaining to the investigation will be restricted to the President, Senior Vice-President, Academic & Student Success, Vice-President, Research & Innovation, the Director, Human Resources, the respondent and his/her department head. The College will conform to the Ontario Freedom of Information Act in such applications.
Breaches of Policy by the College
- In accordance with the Agreement signed by the Agencies and the College, the Agencies require the College to Comply with Agency policies as a condition of eligibility to apply for and administer Agency funds. The process followed by the Agencies to address an allegation of a breach of an Agency policy by the College, and the recourse that the Agencies may exercise, commensurate with the severity of a confirmed breach, are outlined in the Agreement.
Responsibilities of Agencies
- Agencies are responsible for communicating and promoting the RCR frame works to the responsible entities and to respond any allegations of breach of Agency policy. Agency shall review and update the policy at least every five years. In addressing
the allegations, Agencies plays an important role through SRCR and the PRCR. At any time SRCR may request information from the Researcher or the College involved.
- Receiving Allegations - If researcher directly complains to the SRCR, SRCR shall ask the Researcher to send the information to the College and a copy to SRCR however, in cases which involves Agency funding and breach of Agency policy, the SRCR subject to any applicable law may contact the complainant, the College and or any such party as it may deem necessary.An Agency may submit their own allegations directly to College.
- Review of the College Reports - The SRCR and the PRCR shall review the College’s report to determine whether it meets Agency requirements, and whether there has been a breach of Agency policies, the Agreement and/or a funding agreement. The SRCR may follow up with the College for clarification. Time to time if appropriate, PRCR may recommend recourse to the Agencies.
- Recourse - Agency shall have the right to take appropriate action where it finds that there has been a breach of an Agency policy however, while doing so Agency shall take into consideration the PRCR’s recommendations, the College’s findings, the severity of the breach and any actions taken by the College and Researcher involved to remedy the breach. While exercising the recourse, Agency shall give consideration to the affected personnel.
- Accountability and Reporting - As soon as the Agency becomes aware of any unlawful act, shall inform appropriate authorities. Agency shall also be responsible for communication its decision to the Researcher as well as the
- In case of severe breach and in public interest, the Agency may disclose any information related to the breach to public. The information may include the name of the researcher, entity where the breach occurred, and the recourse imposed.
- The SRCR shall act as the central repository for the College’s statistics on RCR involving Agency funds. The Secretariat shall post annually on its website, statistical data received from the College with respect to the total number of allegations, the number of confirmed breaches and the nature of those breaches, subject to applicable laws, including the Privacy Act.
- Measures for Exceptional Circumstances - In exceptional circumstances, Agencies reserve the right to take special measures including:
- Immediate action either by itself or by the College upon the request by the Agency.
- The Agency may conduct its own review or compliance audit or require the College to conduct an independent review/audit.
- Being responsible for one’s actions.
- Canada’s three federal granting agencies:
- The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR)
- The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC)
- The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC)
- Agency Policies
- The set of rules, directives and guidelines issued by an individual Agency or jointly by the Agencies
- Agreement on the Administration of Agency Grants and Awards by Research Institutions (the Agreement)
- The agreement between the Agencies and the College
- A claim or assertion in writing that someone has breached the code of Conduct to the College or the Agency.
- Conflict of Interest
- A conflict of interest or a potential conflict of interest exists when a member of the College is in, or may be in, a position to use research, knowledge, authority or influence for personal or family gain or to benefit others with a personal connection, to the detriment of the institution or its research partners or clients. See Research Conflict of Interest Policy (2000-3-3).
- Anyone who conducts research activities.
- Secretariat on Responsible Conduct of Research
- Panel on Responsible Conduct of Research
- Research grants made available to the institutions by the agencies to support the research projects
- Responsible Allegation
- An allegation:
- that is based on facts which have not been the subject of a previous investigation;
- that falls within Sections 2 and 3 of the Tri-Agency Framework: Responsible Conduct of Research; and,
- which would, if proved, have constituted a breach at the time the alleged breach occurred.
Acknowledgement: Sources include the Tri-Agency Framework: Responsible Conduct of Research.
For questions or concerns regarding this policy, please contact the Policy Sponsor by phoning our main line 519-542-7751.