Research and Scholarly Integrity

Category: Governance
Number: GOV-022-025
Audience: All University employees
Issued: March 16, 1993
Revised: July 26, 2022
Owner(s): VP (Research)
Approved by: Board of Governors
Contact: VP (Research) 306-585-5184

Introduction

Research is central to the mission of the University and to the advancement of knowledge. The University, funding agencies, and other public and private sponsors of research and related scholarly activities recognize that the pursuit of new knowledge can best flourish in a climate of academic freedom and mutual respect. At the University of Regina, research excellence is driven by curiosity, diligence, collaboration, and integrity, as well as compliance with the policies, practices and ethical norms governing research. The University is committed to ensuring that the highest standards of scholarly conduct and academic integrity are understood and practiced in its community.

This policy explains the principles that guide the University's response to allegations of Research/Scholarly Misconduct. This policy applies to all members of the University Community participating in research or scholarly activities at, on behalf of, in connection with, or under the auspices of the University (each a "Researcher").

Policy

Scholarly Conduct

Researchers are honest and committed to conducting research, teaching, mentoring, and disseminating knowledge in an ethically responsible way. "Scholarly Conduct" includes, but is not limited to:

  • maintaining honesty and scholarly and scientific rigor in (i) proposing and performing research, (ii) recording, analyzing and interpreting data, and (iii) reporting and publishing data and findings
  • representing accurately and honestly research observations and findings no matter in what medium they are presented (notes, abstracts, draft manuscripts, reports, oral presentations, or publications)
  • using statistics and other quantitative and qualitative methods of data analysis and evaluation appropriately and responsibly
  • giving due credit to those responsible for the work, words, and ideas presented
  • including as authors, with their consent, all those and only those who have made a substantial contribution (conceptual or material) to, and who accept responsibility for, the contents of the publication or document
  • acknowledging appropriately all those and only those who have contributed to research, including funders and sponsors
  • referencing and, where applicable, obtaining permission for the use of all published and unpublished work, including theories, concepts, data, source material, methodologies, findings, graphs and images
  • adhering to the standards or codes of ethics for the Researcher's academic or professional discipline, [including but not limited to the Tri-Council Policy Statement: Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans (TCPS)]
  • disclosing any relationships, financial, personal, or professional, that might be perceived to compromise one's judgment or impartiality, or constitute a Conflict of Interest, and appropriately identifying and addressing any real, potential or perceived conflict of interest, in accordance with the University’s Conflict of Interest and Conflict of Commitment policy
  • facilitating the exchange of knowledge among researchers at all levels of experience by encouraging a climate of intellectual collaboration and trust
  • facilitating the training and development of members of the research community, ensuring they have the opportunity to achieve their full potential
  • educating members of the research community in the ethical standards of research
  • demonstrating respect for all people engaged in research as participants, students, or co-workers by protecting their rights and welfare, appropriately securing consent and information, and fulfilling the spirit and intent of requirements of all applicable laws, regulations, policies, standards and guidelines
  • treating animals used in research, teaching and testing with attention to their welfare and in compliance with all applicable laboratory animal care laws, regulations, policies, standards and guidelines
  • demonstrating stewardship of resources by appropriately using research funds, caring for and maintaining equipment and other research materials, and complying with all applicable laws, regulations, policies, standards and guidelines
  • abiding by all University policies, procedures and guidelines governing research and the determination of its outcomes
  • using grant or award funds in accordance with the policies of the granting agency and providing true, complete and accurate information on documentation for expenditures from grant or award accounts
  • seeking opportunities to enhance and deepen individual and institutional understanding of research and scholarly conduct

Researchers are responsible for the intellectual and ethical quality of their work and for ensuring it meets the University's standards for research:

Research/Scholarly Misconduct

No Member of the University Community shall engage in research/scholarly misconduct which includes but is not limited to the following:

  • Fabrication , Falsification, or Plagiarism
  • disregarding or breaching agreements that relate to the conduct of the research; breach of any policy relating to research of any funding agency
  • using research funds for purposes other than the funding agency's express requirements or policies,  misappropriating research funds, or providing incomplete, inaccurate or false information on documentation for expenditures from grant or award accounts
  • inadequate acknowledgement or invalid authorship: failing to recognize appropriately the contributions of others or deliberately misrepresenting one's own or others’ work; attributing authorship to people other than those who have made a substantial contribution to, and who accept responsibility for the intellectual content; using others’ materials without permission or otherwise taking unfair advantage of privileged access to others' work
  • misappropriation of intellectual property rights of another person
  • redundant publication; publishing one's own previously published data or research as original research, except where it is clearly indicated in the published work that the publication is intended to be a republication or when such republication would be deemed reasonable in light of the circumstances of where it is published (e.g., refereed journal article versus newspaper op-ed)
  • misrepresenting academic or professional credentials or experience
  • failing to comply with applicable laws or regulations, or University policies and practices for the protection or welfare of researchers, human subjects, the public, or laboratory animals
  • failing to adhere to the standards or codes of ethics for one's academic or professional discipline
  • failing to obtain the appropriate approvals, permits or certifications before conducting research
  • failing to comply with relevant regulations, requirements, policies, laws or regulations, for the conduct and reporting of certain types of research activity
  • misleading others about research results, selectively reporting research results, or deliberately delaying the publication of research results
  • tampering with or destroying the research or research data of another for personal gain or out of maliciousness
  • failing to inform collaborators of research findings and developments in a timely fashion, withholding methodology or research materials or data from the research community, or omitting key aspects of methodology in papers or proposals to hinder replication of one's research
  • failing to disclose and address real, perceived, or potential Conflicts of Interest relating to a research project as outlined in the University's Conflict of Interest and Conflict of Commitment policy; mismanagement of a Conflict of Interest
  • providing incomplete, inaccurate or false information in a grant or award application or related document, such as a letter of support or a progress report; listing of co-applicants, collaborators or partners without their agreement
  • deliberate destruction of research data or records to avoid the detection of wrongdoing, or in contravention of the applicable funding agreement, University policy and/or laws, regulations and professional or disciplinary standards
  • falsely accusing a Researcher of Research/Scholarly Misconduct
  • any other conduct or activity that does not conform with the law or which constitutes a significant departure from the prevailing ethical and other standards that are commonly accepted within the relevant research community for proposing, performing, conducting, reporting, publishing or reviewing research, or treating human or animal research subjects

Lack of awareness of the applicable policies, cultural differences and/or impairment by alcohol or drugs will not constitute a defence for a breach of this policy.  If it can be demonstrated that a Researcher knew or reasonably ought to have known that they violated this policy, then the violation may be dealt with under the provisions of this policy.

What Is Not Research/Scholarly Misconduct

Research/Scholarly Misconduct does not include:

     (i) honest errors, conflicting data, or differences of interpretation or judgment relating to research data or results that are reasonable in light of the circumstances in which they are made or reached;

     (ii) differences of opinion regarding research methodologies, analyses of data and theoretical frameworks; or

     (iii) plagiarism by students, other than post-doctoral fellows, relating to research that is undertaken for academic credit, provided the allegation implicates only students. These allegations are addressed through the Regulations Governing Academic and Non-Academic Misconduct.

In determining whether a Researcher has breached this policy, it is not relevant to consider whether a breach was intentional or a result of honest error. However, intent is a consideration in deciding on the severity of the recourse that may be imposed.

Allegations of Research/Scholarly Misconduct

Allegations of Research/Scholarly Misconduct are taken seriously by the University. The University will make diligent efforts to ensure that the assessment or investigation of an allegation is conducted in a timely, objective, thorough, competent and fair manner and in accordance with this policy and the related procedures and Terms of Reference.

A person who has reasonable grounds to believe that Research/Scholarly Misconduct is occurring or has occurred shall report the matter to the Vice-President (Research). An allegation must be in writing and signed. Allegations that are written and signed will normally lead to one or more of the response processes outlined (e.g. informal inquiry, formal investigation, alternative resolution). If a written, yet unsigned/anonymous, allegation is received, a response may not be possible if there is no way to obtain additional information from the complainant. Anonymous allegations of Research/Scholarly Misconduct may only be acted upon by the Vice-President (Research) if accompanied by sufficient information to enable the assessment of the allegation and the credibility of the facts and evidence on which the allegation is based, without the need for further information from the complainant.

Where information relating to possible Research/Scholarly Misconduct comes to the attention of the Vice-President (Research), they will normally assign an out-of-scope designate to conduct an informal investigation.

The Vice-President (Research) will ensure allegations of Research/Scholarly Misconduct are appropriately addressed on a case-by-case basis, taking into account the varying nature and severity of different allegations. The suitable responses may include, but are not limited to: informal inquiry, alternative resolution, formal investigation and report, and/or engagement of third parties (including legal counsel and law enforcement, as may be required). Remedies and penalties for confirmed misconduct may also vary widely. In determining an appropriate response, consideration will be given to the extent of the misconduct, whether there have been previous cases of misconduct, or other mitigating or aggravating circumstances. Following the principles of progressive discipline, repeated cases will normally result in more severe penalties.

At any time while an allegation of Research/Scholarly Misconduct is being assessed or investigated, the University may independently, or at an agency's request in exceptional circumstances, take interim administrative actions, as deemed appropriate by the University, to protect human or animal research subjects, research funds, research collaborators, Members of the University Community or the public, and to ensure that the purposes of the funding provided by an agency, if any, are carried out.

The University will not tolerate retaliation or reprisals against anyone who makes a good faith allegation of Research/Scholarly Misconduct or against anyone who provides information or assistance during an inquiry or investigation into an allegation of Research/Scholarly Misconduct. Any acts of retaliation (including threats, intimidation, reprisals, or adverse employment or academic action) made against the complainant or any individual who participated in any manner in the investigation or resolution of a report of a breach of this policy are subject to discipline.  If the allegation is found to have been made in bad faith, the University will investigate the action under the Respectful University Policy, and the complainant may be subject to discipline.

The University will comply with the Tri-Agency Framework: Responsible Conduct of Research requirements relating to reporting misconduct or allegations of misconduct.

The University will handle all allegations, inquiries and investigations with discretion and in a confidential manner, and will endeavor to protect the privacy of the complainant(s) and respondent(s) as far as is possible. However, in order to comply with the law or policy, the University may need to disclose information about an allegation to individuals or entities within and external to the University. As well, the University's obligation to maintain confidentiality is subject to The Local Authority Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act and other legislation. For allegations determined to be unfounded, every effort will be made by the University to protect or restore the reputation of those wrongly subjected to an allegation.

Where the allegation is related to conduct that occurred at another institution (whether as an employee, a student or in some other capacity), the University will contact the other institution and determine with that institution’s designated point of contact which institution is best placed to conduct the inquiry and investigation, if warranted.

Roles and Responsibilities

Vice-President (Research)

  • ensures that the University has appropriate and effective procedures for dealing with allegations of Research/Scholarly Misconduct
  • ensures that this policy and process are communicated to members of the University community
  • monitors the compliance with this policy and related procedures
  • provides a report on any formal investigations to the Board of Governors

Members of the University Community

  • are responsible for:
    • (i) understanding and complying with this Policy;
    • (ii) reporting all instances of Research/Scholarly Misconduct; and,
    • (iii) cooperating fully in an inquiry or investigation into an allegation of Research/Scholarly Misconduct.

Researchers who will be conducting research with human participants must complete the Panel on Research Ethics tutorial, Course on Research Ethics (CORE).

People in Supervisory Positions

People in supervisory positions at the University (including Principal Investigators) are responsible for ensuring everyone who works under their supervision, directly or indirectly, understands and complies with this Policy.

Consequences for Noncompliance

Where Research/Scholarly Misconduct is determined to have occurred, the University will take such disciplinary and other steps and recourse (consistent with the seriousness of the misconduct, and whether a breach of this policy was intentional or a result of honest error), up to and including termination of the Respondent's position with the University, and/or in the case of a student or post-doctoral fellow, requiring the Respondent to discontinue their studies or expulsion from the University, and referral to a law enforcement agency.

Processes

Informal Inquiry (Initial Assessment of an Allegation of Research/Scholarly Misconduct

An allegation of Research/Scholarly Misconduct initiates an informal inquiry to determine the merit of the allegation.

  1. Working discreetly to protect the reputation of the persons involved and the University, the Vice-President (Research) will assign an out-of-scope academic designate without conflict of interest to conduct an informal inquiry into the allegation (i) to aid in the assessment of the allegations; (ii) to determine if the allegations fall under this policy, and that there is sufficient evidence of possible Research/Scholarly Misconduct to warrant further investigation; and (iii) to outline options for resolution. The inquiry process is intended to be informal and should allow flexibility for the assigned designate to consult, clarify and investigate as each situation requires.
  2. Whenever possible, the informal inquiry will be completed within one calendar month after the date that the allegation was received. However, management of the allegation may, in some instances, involve a longer period of time.
  3. The out-of-scope designate shall provide a written report to the Vice-President (Research) outlining the process undertaken in the informal inquiry, the information gathered, the outcome of their inquiry into the allegations, and recommended options for resolution / course of action.
  4. The Vice-President (Research) shall review the informal inquiry report in order to determine if the allegation warrants a formal investigation. A formal investigation will not be warranted where:
    (a) The allegation is outside the jurisdiction of this policy;
    (b) The allegations, even if proven, would not constitute Research/Scholarly Misconduct;
    (c) The allegations are frivolous, vexatious or made in bad faith;
    (d) The allegations have been the subject of a previous review, investigation or proceeding.

Formal Investigation Not Warranted

  1. After consideration of the informal inquiry report, if the Vice-President (Research) concludes that an investigation is not warranted, they shall notify the Complainant and the Respondent in writing.

Formal Investigation Warranted

  1. After consideration of the informal inquiry report, if the Vice-President (Research) concludes that an investigation is warranted they shall initiate a formal investigation by establishing an Investigative Committee.  Where a graduate student is involved in the allegation, the Vice-President (Research) shall notify the Dean of FGSR.
  2. The formal investigation, as outlined in the Investigative Committee Terms of Reference, will be followed.

Alternative Resolution

  1. At any time, if the Vice-President (Research) determines that an alternative form of resolution may be appropriate in respect of the allegation, they will discuss this option with the involved parties. Informal approaches focus on resolving the problem as opposed to determining right or wrong or taking disciplinary action. This type of resolution may include, but is not limited to, consultation, raising the matter directly with the Respondent, or mediation. 
  2. If the Respondent declines an offer of Alternative Resolution, a Formal Investigation will normally proceed, provided there is sufficient information available.

 

Appeals

Where the Respondent believes they have grounds for appeal, the process laid out in Appendix A will be followed.

Related Information