Non-Financial Research Misconduct Policy

Purpose

This policy provides guidelines for handling non-financial research misconduct.  For AAS, research misconduct is considered a breach of grant conditions and dishonest practices that seriously deviate from those that are commonly accepted within the scientific and scholarly community for proposing, conducting, or reporting research.

Definitions

Non-financial research misconduct is the fabrication, falsification, plagiarism, or other practices that seriously deviate from those that are commonly accepted within the scientific community for proposing, conducting, or reporting research.  

Exclusions

Research misconduct destroys the integrity or honesty of the research record. This sets it apart from other improper activities that may occur in research settings such as:-

a) Honest error or differences of opinion

b) Authorship disputes unless they include plagiarism

c) Financial conflicts of interest

d) Misuse of grant funds

Policy Statement

All persons taking part in AAS funded research must affirm and document compliance with the principles and standards outlined in this section and those specified in the statements of undertaking signed by the grant holder.

  • Fabrication: Making up data or results and recording or reporting them.  For example, using fake names and information to support scientific claims.
  • Falsification: Manipulation of research materials, equipment or processes or changing or omitting data or results such that the research is not accurately represented in the research method.
  • Plagiarism: The appropriation of another person’s ideas, processes, results, or words without giving appropriate credit via full citation.  This includes claiming undeserved authorship, excluding material contributors from co-authorship, including non-contributors and authors or submitting multi-author papers to authors without consensus of all named authors. 
  • Misrepresentation: this includes misrepresentation of data, interests, qualifications and interests.
  • Breach of duty of care to individuals or groups involved in research.
  • Failure to comply with ethical, legislative and regulatory requirements
  • Improper dealing with allegations of misconduct includes

a) Research Compliance

  • Research involving human participants must be conducted in a manner that demonstrates, protects and preserves respect for persons, concern for the welfare of individuals, families and communities, and justice.  Please refer to the AAS Policy on Humans in Research for more information.
  • Research involving animals must be conducted in a manner that ensures their humane care and treatment. Please refer to the AAS Policy on Use of Animals in Medical and Veterinary Research for more information.
  • Certain research endeavours, including but not limited to research with recombinant DNA, biohazards, and genetically modified organisms, may be subject to enhanced regulation and oversight.

b) Research Misconduct Reporting

In order to make a research misconduct report, the following conditions should be in place:-

  • There is a significant departure from accepted practices of the relevant research community.
  • The misconduct is committed intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly,
  • The allegation can be proven by a preponderance of the evidence.

It is generally an institution’s responsibility to investigate allegations of misconduct made against its staff and so investigations will usually be conducted by the institution, during which time the AAS should keep a watching brief.  A member of AAS staff should be designated to act as a point of contact with the institution during the investigation.

In other, exceptional, cases of research misconduct the AAS may wish to undertake its own investigation into allegations that concern AAS-funded researchers.