Code of Good Conduct in Research
The School encourages staff and students to engage in a process of critical self-reflection in relation to intellectual work.
1. General Statement of Policy. It is CSSD’s requirement that all research undertaken within the institution by staff and students should accord with the school’s equal opportunities policy, data protection legislation and general standards of good practice in the treatment of others (including non-humans). Because the school encourages all staff and students to engage in a process of critical self-reflection in relation to intellectual work and practice, it is expected that attention to social and ethical issues in research will be at the forefront of academic endeavour. Staff and students engaged in research are expected to foster good practice and intellectual integrity in all professional circumstances.
2. Guiding Principles. Particular principles that should be emphasized by researchers at all levels are: care and avoidance of harm; honesty and openness; accountability and appropriate documentation; confidentiality; informed consent; avoidance of conflicts of interest; compliance with the law and relevant codes of conduct; and due acknowledgement of collaborators, informants, participants or others contributors. Researchers should also be aware of best professional conduct in relation to animal and child welfare.
3. Affirmation of Academic Freedom. These principles do not conflict with academic freedom, which allows individual researchers to pursue projects that may be unfashionable, provocative or unpopular, or which may include elements that open difficult ethical questions.
4. Referrals to Ethics Committee. CSSD has an established Ethics Committee which examines research proposals where ethical issues arise. Staff may refer their own research proposals to the Committee for discussion, as well as the proposals of research students. Guidance on general ethical issues may also be sought by Course Leaders, senior academic managers, or Faculty Board.
5. Composition and Role of Ethics Committee. The Ethics Committee is a sub-committee of Faculty Board, to which it reports. Faculty Board, in turn, reports to the School’s Academic Board. The Ethics Committee consists of the Dean of Research (Chair), one Postgraduate Course Leader (nominated by the Chair) and the Research Officer. The secretary is a member of the Academic Administration, drawn from the Course Support Office. The Ethics Committee will consider proposals (seeking expert opinion where necessary) and may invite the researcher to re-consider elements in the draft proposal. In very exceptional circumstances the Committee may ask for adjustments to be made to the research project if members feel that there are serious infringements of the guiding principles of this policy. In such cases researchers have the right of appeal to the Academic Board, whose decision will be final.
6. Misconduct in Research. Unfortunately there are circumstances in which principles of good behaviour in research are deliberately breached—for instance by plagiarism or failure fully to acknowledge the work of others; falsification of results; interference with a project; failure to comply with legal or other codes; or negligence. Allegations of research misconduct by staff members are covered under CSSD’s codes of conduct and regulations and may be addressed through the established HR procedures. Allegations of research misconduct by students will be dealt with in accordance with CSSD’s published code for student conduct. This is found in the ‘All Things Academic’ section of the Student Handbook and associated full policy documents published on the intranet (all of which are also available in hardcopy from the Academic Registrar’s Office).
First approved December 2006
Revised February 2009