Ethics, integrity and policies

Ethics, integrity and policies

COVID-19 Updates

as of 31/03/2020

Coronavirus (COVID-19) infection: latest information click here.

For Research Integrity Issues:

The research integrity team continues to work remotely. If you are having difficulty reaching the team via phone you can email research.integrity@mq.edu.au. Alternatively you can contact a Research Integrity Advisor, go here for contact details.

For the Animal Ethics Committee:

Business as usual: please submit all Animal Ethics new applications, annual reports and amendments (urgent/other) via the normal online process.

Amendments (Urgent/Other) & Responses

These will be reviewed by the Executive or the Chair of the AEC via the online system. These will be sent out for review on a rolling basis as soon as they are received in the animal ethics online system.

Animal Ethics EMAIL: animal.ethics@mq.edu.au

For both the HASS and MDS Human Research Ethics Committees:

Will the ethical review of new Human Research Ethics Submissions continue?

The Macquarie University HRECs will continue to review Human Ethics submissions via its regular schedule of meetings, please see here for dates. Researchers have been directed to pause all face-to-face data collection until the COVID-19 situation has improved. Potential methods to replace face-to-face data collection include:

  • delivery of interviews, focus groups or online intervention training via Microsoft Teams, Zoom or Skype and/or via telephone.
  • administration of interview questions via electronic data capture platforms such as LimeSurvey, REDCap or Qualtrics (although please note data stored on Qualtrics is stored offshore, this needs to be made clear to all participants).
  • employ virtual visits, telehealth, electronic consent or otherwise implement teletrials
  • changes in the way participants are supplied with any materials or devices;
  • change the ‘site’ to a location outside of a hospital or clinic or permit referral to another hospital or clinic
  • extend protocol timeframes for visits, procedures, trial medication delivery or follow-up to accommodate isolation periods or other disruptions

All proposed modifications to the human research protocols must be reviewed before implementation.

Before submitting an amendment for modified research procedures, research teams should pay particular attention to whether the revisions may result in: participants experiencing difficulties using technologies, personal information such as names or email addresses being inadvertently disclosed via the platforms being used, inappropriate protocols for responding to those that show signs of distress. To justify the delivery of research using a modified method, research teams must provide appropriate strategies for minimising the risk of the above events.

How to submit an amendment in response to COVID-19

Any and all amendments submitted in response to COVID-19 will be considered urgent and be sent for expedited review.

  1. Please submit as normal via the system and notify us of the urgency via the Ethics Secretariat email address, ethics.secretariat@mq.edu.au.
  2. These urgent amendment requests will be sent out for review on a rolling basis as soon as the amendment is submitted and an email is received by the Ethics Secretariat.
  3. If the amendment is approved, an interim approval will be granted.
  4. The interim approval will then be sent to the HREC for ratification at the normal scheduled meetings.

Are there specific review considerations for COVID-19 Human Research?

New research relating to COVID-19 can be reviewed by the Macquarie University HREC via an expedited process, where meetings will be held virtually and on a rolling basis. All current human ethics review procedures, guidelines and requirements still apply when submitting applications for review. Researchers should contact the office via  ethics.secretariat@mq.edu.au for further information.

How can I proceed with an approved Human Research Project?

Researchers should consider postponing research, delaying physical recruitment, travel or revising research procedures/data collection activities that involve person to person contact until the COVID-19 situation has improved. Any modifications to the human research protocols must be reviewed before implementation. The review and any approval will be interim for later ratification at an HREC or Executive. Both the MDS and HASS HRECs will continue to review Human Ethics submissions via its regular schedule of meetings.

To protect yourself and others, research occurring within health services, aged care facilities or hospitals should be postponed and must follow the recommendations released by these services in response to the COVID-19 situation.

What if I am conducting research in other countries and employ research assistants/personnel living in these countries to assist in recruiting and data collection?

Following the Deputy Vice Chancellor of Research’s directive; that researchers must pause face-to-face data collection methods until further notice, researchers are also requested to pause face-to-face research activities that are conducted by overseas-based research personnel.

Face-to-face research activities could place overseas participants and research personnel at risk and investigators are requested to revise their projects so that research activities are conducted using non face-to-face methods.

How do I report a deviation from an approved project? ?

Deviations can be reported to HRECs in the usual manner or collected and submitted in bulk form at the end of the crisis.

How do I get advice or support from the Human Ethics Team?

The human ethics team continues to work remotely. Please contact them as below via phone or email.

Email: ethics.secretariat@mq.edu.au

  • T: +61 2 9850 4459 (Administration)
  • T: +61 2 9850 7850 (HREC: Humanities and Social Sciences)
  • T: +61 2 9850 4194 (HREC: Medical Sciences)

This HREC advice represents current thinking and best practice at the government level. It reflects the shared views of all state and territory Departments of Health, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) and the Clinical Trials Project Reference Group (CTPRG).

If you have concerns or queries about the conduct of research by Macquarie University during this period, you might find a useful contact here.

Macquarie University is committed to maintaining the highest standards of research ethics and integrity, and has thus embedded a culture of professional and responsible research practice across all disciplines and faculties.  The Research Ethics and Integrity teams support and promote responsible research practices through the provision of resources, guidance and education.

Research Ethics and Integrity

  • Research Integrity

    At Macquarie, we aim to promote and support responsible research practices by providing resources and guidance to our researchers.

  • Human Research Ethics

    All research with human participants must adhere to the National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research (2007).

  • Animal Ethics

    We are strongly committed to supporting the care and welfare of animals; and the ethical conduct of people who work with animals for scientific research purposes.

  • Policy

    If you are intending to conduct any research at Macquarie, you must comply with a series of policies and guidelines.

  • Biosafety, biosecurity and gene technology

    Making bold discoveries means researchers need to work with hazardous materials. Read how we ensure these materials are minimised, managed and disposed of correctly.

  • Chemical

    Chemicals and substances that have the potential to harm human health, property and the environment. Find out about our induction on hazardous chemical safety.

  • Laser

    Lasers produce a high-intensity beam which can cause damage to eyes and the skin. Learn about our commitment to the safe use of laser products both on and off campus.

  • Radiation

    The ultimate aim when working with any source of radiation is to minimise the doses that staff and students receive. Read about the actions we are taking.

  • Controlled goods and technology

    The Defence Trade Controls Act 2012 protects the national interest by preventing sensitive goods and technologies from falling into the wrong hands. Learn how we are compliant.

  • Autonomous Sanction Act

    Find out how we take reasonable precautions and exercise due diligence to avoid breaching the Autonomous Sanctions Act 2011 where applicable.

Content owner: Research Integrity Last updated: 02 Apr 2020 9:09am

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