2000-3-2Research Integrity

Issue Date:
February 18, 2013
Supersedes Date:
October 27, 2006

Upon request, the college will provide a copy of this policy in an alternate format.

Lambton College recognizes the importance of integrity in research and so strives to ensure the realization of high standards of research integrity. Lambton 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.

Policy

Scope

This policy applies to any employee or student of Lambton College and any other individual in any capacity engaged in research at, or associated with, the College.

Employees and students of Lambton College and all other individuals in any capacity engaged in research at, or associated with, the College are required to comply with the Tri-Agency Framework: Responsible Conduct of Research.

Promotion of Research Integrity

All employees and students involved in research are expected to be aware of the College policy on research integrity. All employees and students involved in research are required to undertake professional development on the College research policies prior to beginning any research project.

All policies pertaining to research will be posted on a Lambton College web site.

Prior to any research being conducted, a common understanding of ownership and control (intellectual property rights, ownership and location of materials and products, reproduction and publication of primary data, storage of primary data, safety protocols, research materials and software) should be reached among all participants, including supervisors, researchers, collaborators, graduate students, college students and the College.

Issues of privacy, i.e. anonymity of human participants, and confidentiality, i.e. information learned about the research subjects or participants, must be addressed and appropriately managed by the principal researcher in order to minimize any breach of trust. Researchers are required to follow the guidelines in the Tri-Council Policy Statement: Ethical Conduct of Research Involving Humans (TCPS 2).

The Collection and Retention of Data

Scientific and scholarly inquiry is dependent upon the integrity of accurately recorded data. In order to ensure the integrity and credibility of the data, a researcher must retain the original data in order to respond to questions regarding the research.

Primary data should normally be stored in a secure area of the researcher’s school/department and should remain available and preserved for a minimum of seven years. For research that is published, the data will be retrievable for a minimum of seven years following the publication. The primary research data should be recorded in print form (preferably in bound books) and backed up on secured or protected electronic media such as compact disk or the College server infrastructure. An index with appropriate pagination should be available to ensure easy access to critical areas of the research data.

Under no circumstances should any primary data be destroyed or altered while the research is being evaluated or investigated by colleagues, readers, investigators except where there is a legitimate requirement for confidentiality.

Within the conditions or terms related to grants or contracts, or other conditions that may arise in the process of conducting research, the primary research investigator and co-investigators shall have free access to all primary data and products originating or produced from the research at all times. Any member of the research team may make copies subject to the applicable conditions or terms, and with the knowledge and authorization of the primary investigator.

If the primary investigator (faculty, staff or student) leaves the College, arrangements must be made for secure storage of all records, data, products, or materials produced. If the primary investigator is a student, the data will remain with the College unless the project being undertaken is a requirement for course work where there is no payment involved to the student, and if there is no external party involved and if there is no contribution from the College other than the minimum requirement to support the student in completing the project. If a faculty member or staff member is departing, he normally would take the data with him, unless he has received or is receiving any salary, grants, resources or compensation that are associated with the College, in which case the data and all associated records remain with the College.

Contributors and Authorship

In order to ensure the accurate publication of scholarly reports, two requirements must be met: a) the active participation of each author in verifying and taking responsibility for the part of the manuscript that she has contributed and b) 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.

Students shall be given the appropriate recognition for authorship or data collection in any publication.

Responsibilities of Supervisors, Principal Investigators and Researchers

Researchers shall strive to follow the best research practices honestly, accountably, openly and fairly in the search for and in the dissemination of knowledge.

Researchers shall follow the requirements of applicable institutional policies and professional or disciplinary standards and comply with applicable laws and regulations.

The primary responsibility for ensuring high standards of conduct in research and scholarship will rest with the principal investigator, or project supervisor in the absence of a principal investigator, accountable for the research project.

The principal investigator or project supervisor is required to

  1. ensure that all research is conducted to the highest possible ethical standard and with scholarly and academic integrity.
  2. provide collaborators, students, staff and assistants with all reasonable information through training and education to prevent misconduct.
  3. monitor actively the work of students, research assistants and others involved in the research.
  4. oversee the designing of the research methodology and the processes for acquiring, recording, examining, interpreting and storing data. Simply editing the results of a research project does not constitute supervision.
  5. hold respectful discussions among all research personnel in a research unit on a regular schedule to contribute to the scholarly efforts of group members and provide informal review.
  6. verify the authenticity of all data or other factual information generated in the research.
  7. Establish and ensure compliance with safety protocols.

Researchers are responsible for the following:

  1. Using a high level of rigour in proposing and performing research, recording, analyzing and interpreting data, and reporting and publishing data and findings.
  2. Keeping complete and accurate records of data, methodologies and findings, including graphs and images, in accordance with the applicable funding agreement, institutional policies, laws, regulations, and professional or discipline standards in a manner that will allow verification or replication of the work by others.
  3. Referencing and, where applicable, obtaining permission for the use of all published and unpublished work, including data, source material, methodologies, findings, graphs and images.
  4. Including as authors, with their consent, all those and only those who have materially or conceptually contributed to, and share responsibility for, the contents of the publication or document, in a manner consistent with their respective contributions and authorship policies of relevant publications.
  5. Acknowledging, in addition to authors, all contributors and contributions to research, including writers, funders and sponsors.
  6. Managing appropriately any real, potential or perceived conflict of interest, in accordance with the College policy on conflict of interest in research, in order to ensure that the objectives of the Framework (Section 1.3) are met.
  7. Implementing and maintaining all safety protocols during research activity.

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 Canadian Environmental 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.

Researchers in breach of an agency policy are expected to be proactive in rectifying a breach, for example, by correcting the research record, providing a letter of apology to those impacted by the breach, or repaying funds.

Application for Grant Funds, Management of Grant and Award Funds

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.

College researchers applying for public grant funds must not be in breach of responsible conduct research policies, e.g. ethics, integrity, financial management policies.

Principal funding applicants must ensure that others listed on the application have agreed to be included.

Researchers are responsible for using grant or award funds in accordance with the policies of the funding agencies, including the Tri-Agency Financial Administration Guide and Agency grants and awards guides, and for providing true, complete and accurate information on documentation for expenditures from grant or award accounts.

Conflict of Interest

An essential component of research integrity is promptly recognizing situations of perceived, existing or potential conflict of interest.

A conflict of interest is defined as a situation or circumstance in which:

  1. the personal or business interests of the researcher, including the interests of family or business associates, conflict with the researcher's obligations to the College, including deference for the College policies, students or employees under his/her supervision;
  2. use is made, without proper authorization or agreement, of College resources, including secretarial, office and administrative services, technical services, laboratories, assistants, premises, logo or insignia, for the personal gain or benefit of the researcher or for the gain or benefit of others related to or associated with the researcher;
  3. student work is directed with a view to benefiting the personal or business purposes of the researcher, his/her associates or relations, to the detriment of the student’s progress or scholarly academic endeavours;
  4. business or personal interests of the researcher, his/her associates or relations compromise the independence and impartiality necessary to perform his/her duties;
  5. a researcher uses confidential information gathered in the course of his/her duties for personal or business gain or for the gain of his/her associates or relations;
  6. in the course of his/her duties, a researcher incurs an obligation to an individual or business that is likely to benefit from special treatment or favours granted by the researcher or the College;
  7. a researcher influences or seeks to influence or coerce a decision made by the College or an outside agency for personal or business benefit;
  8. a researcher accepts an internal or external executive appointment, employment, or shares in any non-College organization that might reasonably expect him/her to disclose confidential or proprietary information to which he/she has access by virtue of the College appointment;
  9. a researcher accepts, without written authorization of the College, a research grant or contract from any non-College organization from which they receive or may subsequently receive direct or indirect benefits as an executive officer or shareholder;
  10. a researcher employs a student in any commercial venture related to the student’s study or research, or proceeds to commercialize the student’s work in such a way as to restrict the student’s ability to complete his academic program or communicate his findings.

Conflicts of interest in research projects will be addressed by the Research Ethics Board. Researchers should be aware of, and in compliance with, policy 2000-3-3 Research Conflict of Interest policy.

Misconduct

The College will take prompt and vigorous action to investigate and address observed, or alleged misconduct in research, based on the following principles:

  • Responsible self-regulation of institutional and academic research procedures,
  • The highest degree of confidentiality compatible with effective response and reporting requirements,
  • Avoidance of perceived or real conflict of interest,
  • Recognition of the need to protect the rights of the accused to due process, the interests of those making allegations, and the interests of the public.

Definitions of Misconduct

The following behaviours or actions demonstrate a lack of research integrity and constitute misconduct.

  1. The fabrication, falsification or intentional misrepresentation of research data.
  2. Serious deviation from appropriate research practices that are commonly accepted within the scholarly and scientific community for proposing, conducting, or reporting research.
  3. The destruction of one's own or another's research data or records to specifically avoid the detection of wrongdoing or in contravention of the applicable funding agreement, institutional policy, laws, regulations, and professional or disciplinary standards.
  4. Unauthorized appropriation of another’s work, or theft of ideas or intellectual property, or plagiarism.
  5. 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.
  6. Inadequate acknowledgement - failure to recognize or acknowledge the contribution of others, including co-researchers, research assistants and students.
  7. Unauthorized use of unpublished works of researchers and scholars.
  8. Copyright violations of archival material.
  9. 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.
  10. Failure to appropriately manage any real, potential or perceived conflict of interest, in accordance with the Institution's policy on conflict of interest in research.
  11. Preventing one or more of the objectives of the Framework from being met.
  12. Harassment, discrimination or abuse as defined in the College Harassment and Discrimination policy.
  13. 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.
  14. Abuse of power by supervisory staff directed at collaborators, assistants, students and others associated with the research.
  15. 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 College resources, facilities and equipment without approval of Lambton College.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. Failure to manage appropriately any real, potential or perceived conflict of interest.
  19. Misrepresentation in an agency application or related document.
  20. 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.
  21. 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.

Investigation of Alleged or Suspected Breaches of Research Integrity

All faculty researchers, students, research assistants and employees have an obligation to the College to report any circumstances that they believe involve a breach of the Research Integrity policy of the College.

When there is the appearance of, evidence or allegations of a breach of research integrity, the College will 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.

Lambton College shall advise the relevant funding agency or the Secretariat on Responsible Conduct of Research (SRCR) immediately, subject to any applicable laws, including privacy laws, of any allegations related to activities funded by the agency that may involve significant financial, health and safety, or other risks.

Complaints

  1. 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 Dean of Applied Research. Following the discussion, the person may or may not choose to request an investigation.
  2. A person who believes that there has been a breach of the Research Integrity policy may request a preliminary investigation from the Dean of Applied Research.
  3. The Dean of Applied Research shall be the first point of contact for all internal and external complaints or allegations concerning research integrity.
  4. A complaint in writing shall identify the person or persons who made the allegations if the Dean of Applied Research deems that such identification is necessary to evaluate the complaint.
  5. No person making a complaint shall be identified to other parties unless that person has expressly so agreed.
  6. The Dean of Applied Research shall keep all complaints and allegations confidential.
  7. The Dean of Applied Research shall take such steps as may be reasonable to protect against retribution or coercion of complainants.

The Investigation

  1. On her own initiative or upon receipt of a complaint, the Dean of Applied Research 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 Dean’s concern or the complaint and the circumstances surrounding it.
  2. 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.
  3. If, in the opinion of the Dean of Applied Research, a satisfactory resolution of a complaint is possible, the Dean shall attempt such a resolution. Similarly, a satisfactory resolution of an investigation launched on the Dean’s initiative shall be attempted.
  4. If the resolution is successfully implemented, the Dean of Applied Research shall inform the complainant of the resolution within ten days.
  5. In the event the Dean of Applied Research determines that the complaint is without foundation, then the Dean of Applied Research may dismiss the complaint and will immediately advise the complainant accordingly, providing in writing justification for the decision.
  6. The complainant may appeal the resolution or the decision to dismiss the complaint. The complainant must notify the Dean of Applied Research, within ten 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 Vice-President Academic. The Vice-President Academic 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.

The Formal Investigation

  1. In the event the Dean of Applied Research 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 Vice-President Academic, the Dean confirm the decision to carry out a formal investigation.
  2. The Dean of Research 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.
  3. The Investigation Panel will conduct interviews, review documents, and undertake any other investigative actions that they deem appropriate and necessary in order to determine the facts.
  4. The respondent has the right to know the allegations and to answer the allegations before the Investigation Panel both orally and in writing.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. The Investigation Panel shall make its determination within two calendar months from its appointment and report in writing to the Vice-President Academic.
  8. The decision of the Investigation Panel shall be binding on the College pending appeal as outlined in item 24.
  9. The Investigation Panel may recommend sanctions. The determination and application of any sanctions lies with the Vice-President Academic. The Vice-President Academic will inform the respondent of the sanction or disciplinary action within five working days of receiving the Panel report.
  10. The Vice-President Academic will provide a copy of the Investigation Panel report to the respondent, complainant and the Dean of Research within five (5) working days.

Appeals

  1. The respondent may appeal the decision ofthe Investigation Panel to the Vice-President Academic in writing within ten days of receipt of the report.
  2. The Vice-President Academic shall consider the appeal, and confirm or amend the decision of the Investigation Panel. The decision is final.

Sanctions

  1. 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:
    1. Restitution: repair, replace and/or restore any damaged or lost materials
    2. Verbal reprimand with specifics related to the infraction
    3. Written reprimand placed in the employees file with the specifics related to the nature of the infraction and consequences should an infraction occur again.
    4. Repayment of any resources misappropriated
    5. A fine
    6. Suspension
    7. Dismissal from employment
  2. 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. 
  3. In cases where a breach of the Research Integrity policy has involved 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 Reports

  1. If the investigation was requested by a funding agency, a copy of the report must be sent to the Agency, whether or not misconduct is concluded to have occurred, within thirty days of the conclusion of the investigation.
  2. If the investigation was initiated internally and where misconduct is found to have occurred, the College will provide all affected funding agencies with a written report of the investigation within thirty days of the conclusion of the investigation.

Records

  1. Reports and records will be kept by the Human Resources Department. See policy 1000-3 Records Retention.
  2. Access to investigation records will be by application to the Director of Human Resources. Access to records pertaining to the investigation will be restricted to the President, Vice-President of Academic, the Dean of Applied Research, the Director of Human Resources, the respondent and his/her department head. The College will conform to the Ontario Freedom of Information Act in such applications.

Institutional Response

  1. In the case of unfounded or unproven allegations, efforts will be made by the College to protect or restore the reputation of those accused.
  2. In cases where misconduct has been concluded, the College will ensure that the necessary measures are in place to protect agency funding, which could include suspending agency funding until the matter has been resolved to the satisfaction of all affected parties.

Acknowledgement: Sources include the Tri-Agency Framework: Responsible Conduct of Research


For questions or concerns regarding policies, please contact:

Jim Elliott
Director, Quality Assurance & Institutional Research
519-542-7751 x 3489
jim.elliott@lambtoncollege.ca

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