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Issue 16 – August 2015

From the Associate Dean Research At a recent meeting of Associate Deans Research from across the University, Professor Les Field, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research (DVC(R)), reiterated the importance of abiding by the spirit and letter of principles of Research Integrity. The UNSW Research Gateway website devotes considerable attention to this aspect of the research process. It defines Research Integrity as the “commitment to creating and maintaining an environment that promotes responsible research conduct”. It emphasizes the “standards of excellence, truthfulness, moralistic actions and legally permissible conduct” which underpin this commitment and provides links to the specific procedures and policies by which this is managed. See: https://research.unsw.edu.au/units/research-integrity Subscribing to a culture and practice of Research Integrity is the responsibility of all staff and students in Built Environment. Familiarity with what is at stake is expected. Abiding by the key principles in action is mandatory. To better inculcate these principles, UNSW has recently produced posters which graphically summarise the issues involved: ethical research, reporting with integrity, accountability as to methodologies, disclosing even perceived conflicts of interest, unbiased analysis, and so on. These posters have already appeared on BE notice boards and in our PhD research labs. Research Integrity is an ongoing issue of relevance to both early career researchers (ECRs) and senior academics, higher degree research students (HDRs) and undergraduates. The University takes very seriously any suggestion of plagiarism, disputes over authorship, the need for proper curation of research evidence, and responsible mentoring and guidance of HDRs and ECRs. My role as Associate Dean Research is to deal with any issues which might surface in the faculty and refer more serious cases to the DVC(R). Fortunately, I have not been kept busy, which is reassuring, but as new staff and research students join the faculty there is an ongoing need to ensure a working knowledge of best practice in line with the university’s Research Code of Conduct. Complementing the reminders in the posters, UNSW is also set to roll out an on-line Research Integrity package comprising learning modules, resource portfolio, quizzes, and assessment. This is to be piloted with commencing HDR candidates this semester. This is further evidence of what Professor Field refers to as the need to educate all UNSW researchers to Research Integrity at “the coalface”. Rob Freestone Associate Dean Research


Built Environment Research News: August 2015