Reporting a breach or research misconduct

Reporting a breach or research misconduct

If you believe that the actions of a Macquarie University staff member or student may constitute a breach of the Macquarie University Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research (Macquarie Code) or research misconduct, you are encouraged to report it.

Staff and students of the University may speak with a research integrity advisor (RIA) before making a report. Speaking with a RIA will help you to understand whether a breach or research misconduct may or may not have occurred, the process for making a report and any possible implications of making a report.

People external to the University should contact the Director, Research Ethics and Integrity.

How to report

Reports should be made in writing (email or hardcopy are acceptable) to the Director, Research Ethics and Integrity.

Your report should clearly outline the details of the possible breach or research misconduct. It should as far as possible include any evidence that you have access to that will help in the initial assessment of the situation; for example, drafts of manuscripts or altered images. It is not your job to collect all the evidence. A subsequent inquiry will obtain further evidence if necessary, but it will be helpful if there are things that you can get hold of.

Reports should be sent to:

Dr Karolyn (Kandy) White
Director, Research Ethics and Integrity
Level 3, Building C5C (Forum)
Macquarie University NSW 2109

T: +61 (2) 9850 7854

E: karolyn.White@mq.edu.au

How we will handle and resolve allegations

The procedures followed for handling and resolving allegations are outlined in the Macquarie Code and follow the principles of procedural fairness.

Procedural fairness

The University implements procedural fairness during all stages of an assessment of potential breaches of responsible research practice. This notion encompasses procedures that are transparent and have been designed to ensure that a fair, equitable, accountable, timely, transparent and reasonable decision-making process is followed.

The rules of procedural fairness in this context imply that a person who is the subject of an investigation of a potential breach of responsible research has the right to be heard and respond to allegations and that the people involved in assessing the potential breach are impartial to the outcome, unbiased and act only objectively on the basis of logically probative evidence.

Visit NSW Ombudsman for more information on procedural fairness.

Can I make an anonymous report?

The University is committed to the principles of procedural fairness. We therefore encourage people to bring forward allegations but will not normally act on anonymous allegations.

In some cases, the person making a complaint may wish not to be identified to other people. If this is the case, we will as far as possible keep the person's identity confidential, but issues of procedural fairness may sometimes dictate otherwise.

Public interest disclosures

Reports should be made under the University’s Reporting Wrongdoing – Public Interest Disclosures Policyand associated procedures where allegations relate to serious wrongdoing arising from:

Reporting a breach or research misconduct by people external to Macquarie University

If an alleged breach relates to people outside Macquarie University, the report should be made to the person's institution. If the allegation relates to a publication, the report can be made to the editor of that publication.

Contact Research Ethics and Integrity if you need advice or assistance in determining who to report an allegation to.

Reprisal actions or malicious allegations will not be tolerated

The University will not tolerate any reprisal action against staff or students who accurately and honestly report possible breaches or research misconduct. In assessing and dealing with reports of possible breaches or research misconduct, the University will consider the possibility of reprisal action and seek to minimise its occurrence.

If a staff member or student is concerned about the possibility of reprisal action, they should raise the matter with the Director, Research Ethics and Integrity. Similarly, if any staff member or student is concerned that any action they need to take in the course of their role may be perceived to amount to reprisal action, they should consult the Director, Research Ethics and Integrity.

Staff members or students who take detrimental action against an individual who accurately and honestly reports possible breaches or research misconduct may be disciplined by the University in accordance with relevant policies and industrial instruments.

Frivolous, vexatious and malicious allegations of either breaches or research misconduct will not be tolerated or investigated. Persons making such allegations may be the subject of disciplinary actions. In serious cases, or where the person is from outside Macquarie University, the matter may be referred to the police.

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