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The University of Queensland is committed to encouraging its researchers to conduct their research and scholarship with integrity. A combination of good policy, which is underpinned by the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research, and innovative training in the area of responsible research practices, provides a solid base for our researchers to conduct their high quality research with integrity.

Should you have any concerns in regard to the responsible conduct of research or research misconduct, you may contact the BEL Faculty's Research Integrity Advisor (RIA), Professor Sara Dolnicar via email at: s.dolnicar@uq.edu.au or phone +61 7 3365 6702.   

View the University's Policy and Procedures relating to the Responsible Conduct of Research.

Acknowledgements

Q: A research assistant helped me find journal articles for a literature review. I gave them clear instructions which keywords to use and they sent me the PDF versions of the articles. Should I make the research assistant an author? Or should I acknowledge them?

A: You do not need to offer authorship. The research assistant was providing technical support in this instance. You should, however, acknowledge them in the Acknowledgements section of your manuscript. Don’t forget to ask their permission. You cannot acknowledge people without asking their permission. Why? Because they may not want to be named, they may disagree with what you have written and may prefer not to be associated with it.

Authorship

Q: I am a Research Assistant. I am being paid to conduct and write up a literature review for a paper. I am told that – because I am being paid – I cannot be a co-author on the paper. Is this correct?

A: No, this is not correct. Whether or not you are entitled to authorship depends on whether or not you have made a significant contribution to the paper, for example through conception and design of the project, analysis and interpretation of data or drafting significant parts of the work or critically revising it so as to contribute to the interpretation.


Q: I am a Research Assistant. I have been working on this paper all by myself. It is my idea and I have done all the work myself. My supervisor who is also my post-doc employer says they should be a co-author because they are funding my position. Is this correct?

A: No, this is not correct. Whether or not you are entitled to authorship depends on whether or not you have made a significant contribution to the paper, for example through conception and design of the project, analysis and interpretation of data or drafting significant parts of the work or critically revising it so as to contribute to the interpretation. Someone who has not contributed significantly is not entitled to authorship.


Q: I am an RHD student. My supervisor is very busy, so I have been writing essays on my own. Do I need to put my supervisor’s name on the manuscript as my co-author?

A: Only if they have contributed significantly to the study. Sometimes supervisors provide the key idea for the research or assist the RHD students in designing the study, those are considered substantial contributions, but supervisors do not have an automatic right to co-authorship.


Q: How is author order determined?

A: There are different ways of determining author order. Most commonly in business-related disciplines the order reflects the contribution made. So the first order has made the largest contribution, followed by the second order etc. The last author is frequently the group leader in this system, the senior researcher on the project. It is also possible to list authors alphabetically, this is particularly useful if all authors have contributed equally. Another good idea is to specify in a foot note who has contributed what to the manuscript. This can give some protection if you feel unsure about the quality of the work of others. For example, if you were in charge of data analysis and have not done the literature review, you could specify this. This would make it clear to readers that you take responsibility for the correctness and accuracy of data analysis, but that someone else has taken responsibility for the literature review.

Conflicts of interest management

Q:  Does UQ run workshops or provide advice on conflict of interest management?

A:  No, UQ does not run separate workshops on this.  Conflict of Interest is addressed in the Understanding Responsible Conduct of Research workshops run by Staff Development.  UQ addresses this in two policies.

General Conflict of Interest is addressed in PPL 1.50.11 - Conflict of Interest

Conflict of Interest relating to Research Misconduct is addressed in PPL 4.20.02 - Responsible Conduct of Research

If it is research-related, people should also read the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research.

Both these policies have easy to follow procedures regarding what constitutes a COI, how COI should be disclosed and steps for managing COI. Each procedure has an associated form.

It is recommended to anyone with a potential COI to read each of these policies and determine whether they might have a COI that needs to be declared. If unsure you can arrange to speak with your Faculty's Research Integrity Advisor, your immediate supervisor, or Head of School.  The process for declaring and managing COI is basically to tell your supervisor, discuss and agree on a plan for managing the COI and then present that plan to the Head of School for approval. The Head of School (or Executive Dean if your supervisor is the Head of School) can approve or refuse your management plan. Whatever is agreed in the end will be held on record by the Head of School/Executive Dean. Some conflicts of interest can be managed. Some conflicts of interest mean people must exclude themselves from some activities.

Data management

Q: Can I use the same data set as the basis for two publications?

A: There is no general answer to this question. Many secondary data sets, like finance data sets or longitudinal data sets from the ABS are used by many researchers and students again and again to publish. If you collected your own empirical data set it may still be OK to write multiple papers, but the basis would have to be a different section of the data.


Q:  If I have collected survey data but it turns out my sample size is not large enough to conduct the tests I want to conduct, can I copy and paste a section of the data?

A:  No, you cannot.  All you can do to an empirical data set is clean it. This means, for example, imputing missing values or removing respondents whose response patterns indicate that they have not completed the survey correctly.  You should write down exactly which cleaning procedures have been undertaken and report it in the manuscript.


Q:  Am I responsible for storing my data?

A:  If you have collected empirical data, you are responsible for safely storing it.


Q:  If I have collected data and a colleague overseas analyses it, what are the data management implications of that situation?

A:  The same question could apply to a colleague from another Australian university.  If the data is part of a joint project funded by a grant, UQ would always have some form of Multi-institutional agreement or CRA in place via the Research Management Office. This will govern sharing of resources and data management. Even if the project is unfunded it is always wisest to have a Collaborative Research Agreement in place to direct how data is to be transferred, stored, IP implications. Researchers should talk with their Research Partnerships Manager - they are best placed to advise on such arrangements.  The contact details for the BEL Research Partnerships Manager can be found here.

This is not trivial.  In 2014, UQ had a matter in which an inexperienced researcher voluntarily 'gave' a significant amount of IP to a colleague from another Australian institution for the purposes of developing a grant. The grant was successful but our researcher found out that they were not named on the final grant. There was nothing UQ could do in the end to assist them.

Ethics applications

Q: I have been asked by an overseas colleague to undertake some joint research. They will be collecting the data, but we are designing the study together and I will make a contribution to the data collection cost from my research funding. Do I need to get ethics approval for the field work?

A: Yes, you do. Unless you are given someone’s finished data set and you had absolutely nothing to do with the design and implementation of the data collection, you need to submit an ethics application to UQ.


Q:  If someone collects data in their class from students, do they need ethics approval?  If they do not have it (eg. they only seek teaching feedback) but then come to interesting findings which they want to publish, can they?

A:  Surveys for the purpose of teaching feedback do not require ethics approval. If someone later found this could form the basis of a paper it would depend upon the nature of the questions.

If the questions were opinion about something and no personal information was being collected eg. Do you like tall buildings or short buildings, red or blue, learning by internet vs learning face to face? I do not think ethics would be required.  However, it might be difficult to publish such studies because increasingly journals will insist upon ethical approval.

The best thing would be for the person to seek advice from Michael Tse the HREC Coordinator for UQ. It would also be best in general that if they found these student surveys have potentially useful application to research that they prepare for this properly by developing a proposal and submitting this for HREC approval. They would be more likely to strive maximum value from a properly planned and approved study.

Manuscript submission

Q:  Can I submit my manuscript simultaneously to multiple journals or to a journal and a conference?

A:  No, you cannot. You can only submit to one publication outlet at a time. Only when you get rejected, for example, can you revise your paper and submit it elsewhere.

Plagiarism

Q: I think someone has plagiarised my paper! What do I do?

A: You can make a complaint to the University where the alleged plagiarist is employed or to the journal/publisher/editor of the publication of the publication outlet in which the manuscript appeared that you think has plagiarised your work. You can also contact the UQ Research Integrity Office and request that they lodge a complaint on your behalf. Either way, please provide all the evidence required, most importantly a copy of your paper and a copy of the paper you think has plagiarised your work. In both documents please highlight the sections which you believe have been plagiarised.

Self-plagiarism

Q: Can I use another author’s words in my manuscript?

A: If you want to use another author’s words, you need to put them in quotation marks and indicate not only the publication, but also the page number where you have taken this quote from. For example: “Eggs are never totally round.” (Eggfarmer, 2014, p. 3218).


Q: Can I reuse my own words in a later publication?

A: It is safer never to do that because there could be a perception of self-plagiarism. Sometimes – even if it seems silly – it is better to just reformulate. For example you may have a paragraph that captures a body of prior work very well. This body of work is also relevant to a later paper of yours. Resist the temptation to copy and paste. Reword to be on the safe side.