ARTICLE 60 - Ethical Conduct of Research

Introduction

60:01           The policies set forth in this Article outline general principles upon which the ethical conduct of research should be based and apply to all members of the bargaining unit conducting research at the University of Windsor.  Procedures are established for the effective handling of allegation(s) of research misconduct.  These procedures are designed to protect the rights of members, the University, the Councils and other outside funding agencies.

Individual research units within the University may develop more specific policies appropriate for their individual disciplines if they deem it necessary.  Research unit policies must be consistent with the ones outlined herein and, where they affect the terms and conditions of employment, approved by the parties in writing.

In the investigation of complaints, conflicts of interest must be avoided where possible, and openly declared where they cannot be avoided.  Persons involved in investigating complaints shall be unbiased and shall have appropriate scientific and administrative background for evaluating the complaint.                                    

Selection and Conduct of Research 

60:02            (a)     Research projects should be selected, funding should be accepted and research should be conducted with due consideration for University policies and guidelines on research ethics.  Existing University regulations or guidelines include Research Policy and Procedures (1991), Policy Statement on Research Personnel (1991), policy and regulations governing ownership of intellectual property, Guidelines for Research Involving Human Participants Tri-Council Policy Statement, second edition, (hereinafter “TCPS2”) as amended  from time to time and  the Tri-Agency Framework: Responsible Conduct of Research (hereinafter “Framework”) as amended from  time to time and procedures for research involving animals, including guidelines of the Canadian Council on Animal Care as amended from  time to time.  All direct funding sources used in the conduct of research should be acknowledged in resulting publications in accordance with the granting body's policies.

(b)     The primary responsibility for the selection and conduct of research rests with the individuals performing the research.  In addition, in the case of collaborative or team research, the research director or principal investigator has an accountability for the research of the group or team.  In the case of research conducted by graduate student(s) for major papers or projects, theses or equivalent, or dissertations, the instructor, advisor, or research director of the student(s) shall provide and explain these policies to the student(s) and shall satisfy her/himself that the student(s) understand the requirements within the policies in relation to the research being carried out by the student(s).  The instructor, advisor or research director shall take reasonable steps that she/he deems necessary to ensure that research carried out by the student(s) does not violate the policies and, in particular, shall require the student(s) to give a signed undertaking that they have not violated the policies in any way. 

Supervision of Research Personnel

60:03            (a)     The principal investigator is ultimately responsible for all aspects of the research project, including supervision.  The following recommendations are to be used as guidelines for the supervision of research personnel.

(b)     The immediate responsibility for supervision of research personnel should be specifically assigned to a particular faculty member (usually the principal investigator) in each research unit.

(c)     The ratio of other research personnel, especially research trainees, to senior investigators should be small enough to allow effective communication and continuous supervision of all aspects of the research.  If research associates or post-doctoral fellows are part of a research unit, it is recognized that they may have responsibility for day-to-day, intermediate supervision of junior members of the group.

(d)     The principal investigator should oversee the designing of research and the processes of acquiring, recording, examining, interpreting and storing data; simply editing publications is inadequate.

(e)     Continual transfer of information among members of a research group is expected save and except where a Research Agreement signed by the parties is in force that has confidentiality provisions to protect intellectual property.  Collegial discussions among all research personnel in a research unit should be held regularly to identify individual responsibilities, to contribute to the scholarly efforts of group members, and to provide informal review.

(f)      With the assistance of the Office of Research Services, the principal investigator should provide each new member of the research unit with applicable governmental and institutional requirements for the conduct of research involving human subjects, animals, radioactive or other hazardous substances or recombinant DNA, as appropriate, the research unit's guidelines for ethical conduct of research, as well as any other information that is directly relevant to the research activity, such as guidelines for use of archival material.

Definition of Terms

60:04           The parties agree that factors intrinsic to the process of academic research such as uncertainty, honest error, conflicting data, or honest differences in interpretation or assessment of data and/or of experimental design do not constitute fraud and/or misconduct.

Conflict of Interest

occurs when a person has a duty to decide fairly or to vote on an issue, and there is a reasonable presumption that the person stands to be benefitted or harmed from a certain resolution of the issue beyond the expected professional benefit from academic publication or presentation of the results.  A person is not in a conflict of interest merely by virtue of prior knowledge of the issue or the person about whom a decision is being made;  or common professional or social relations with a person about whom a decision is to be made,

Contract Research

means mission-oriented research, the nature, scope and deliverables of which, in both scientific and fiscal terms, are clearly delineated in a legal contract between the signatories,

Falsification of Data

means to knowingly publish data with the purpose of deceiving the reader or listener that are known to be wrong or that were obtained by deliberate acts of falsification,

Fraud and/or Misconduct in Academic Research

means:    

(i)       fabrication, falsification or plagiarism;

(ii)      material failure to comply with relevant federal or provincial statutes or regulations for the protection of researchers, human subjects, the health and safety of the public, or for the welfare of laboratory animals;

(iii)     material failure to recognize by due acknowledgment the substantive contributions of others, including students, or the use of unpublished material of others without permission, or the use of archival materials in violation of the rules of the archival source;

(iv)     material failure to obtain the permission of the author before making significant use of new information, concepts or data obtained through access to manuscripts or grant applications during the peer review process;

(v)      material misuse of the research funds of the university, federal or provincial granting councils or other sponsors of research;

(vi)     failure to disclose to the sponsors, or to those who commission the research, any conflicts of interest, as defined above;

(vii)    failure by researcher(s) to disclose conflicts of interest as defined above to the person or agency engaging them to carry out reviews of research grant applications or manuscripts for publication, or the testing of products for sale or distribution to the public.

Intellectual Property

means a product of the intellect to which the generator(s) may legitimately claim legal rights,

Member

means a member of the bargaining unit as defined in this Agreement between the University of Windsor and the Faculty Association,

Misuse of Research Funds

means not following the financial guidelines of the granting agency or applicable internal University guidelines on the management and disbursement of such funds.  Technical violations of guidelines do not constitute misuse of research funds,

Parties

means the University of Windsor and the Faculty Association of the University of Windsor,

Plagiarism

means representing the work and/or ideas of another person as one's own in any academic communication, or assisting another person to do so,

Publication

means for the purpose of these guidelines, any production or documentation that is recorded for the purposes of public retrieval.  This includes any book, journal article, technical or other report, or research paper, in print, typescript, or manuscript or stored in information retrieval systems,                                                                                

Research

means systematic work undertaken to acquire new knowledge or to study a particular question,

Research Personnel

means technical assistants, graduate or undergraduate students, postdoctoral fellows, research associates, professional consultants, visiting scholars and such other persons who are assisting in the research,

Research Unit 

means a group operating in part or in whole to undertake systematic work for the acquisition of new knowledge or study of a particular question; it may be an Academic Administrative Unit (AAU), research centre, institute or group, or facility located at the University of Windsor or elsewhere in formal affiliation with the University of Windsor.

Data

60:05            (a)     Data generated by the researcher(s) shall belong to the researcher(s) unless there is a written contract to the contrary.

(b)     The following guidelines should be observed as applicable, with regard to data gathering, retention and storage.  Permanent records that could be used to establish the ethical nature of the research, including data listings and computer codes shall be retained by the laboratory or unit in which they are generated for a minimum of five (5) years unless determined otherwise by the Vice President, Research for the purpose of verifying, reproducing, or extending published results.  With the knowledge and authorization of the principal investigator, a member of the research team may make copies of the primary data for her/his own use, but the immediate supervisor and all collaborators shall have free access at any time to all original data or evidence and products of the research.  In certain instances it may not be necessary to save the raw data, but to provide instead the algorithm for generating the data.  Authorization to make copies may not be withheld without valid reasons, which must be communicated in writing to the Dean of the Faculty and to the Provost or, in cases involving graduate students, to the Vice President, Research as well as the Provost.

(c)     Members are only responsible for data that is in their possession and not if it belongs to libraries, archives, or other laboratories. Any non-trivial financial costs involved in the retention of such data when required by the University shall be borne by the University.

(d)     Potential conflict with the ethical requirement to maintain control over data in order to preserve anonymity and confidentiality of research participants shall be resolved by reference to the University Ethics Committee.  Retention of and access to data shall be consistent with the University Guidelines on Research Involving Human Subjects. 

(e)     Provision of material products - such as cell lines, bacterial clones, other specific organisms and substances, or software developed and prepared during research - to third parties for non-commercial research purposes within or outside the research unit should be made with the approval of the principal investigator.

Authorship

60:06           Fraud and/or misconduct in academic research includes attribution of authorship to persons other than those who have made a significant intellectual or a practical contribution to the work.  Purely formal association with the research project such as the headship of a laboratory, AAU or Faculty where the Head or Dean had no direct research involvement may be noted as an acknowledgment but not as authorship.  General supervision of the research group is also not sufficient for authorship but may be acknowledged.  Technical help, data collection or critical reviews of the manuscript prior to publication may be acknowledged in a separate paragraph.

Investigation of Allegation(s) of Fraud and/or Misconduct in Academic Research

60:07           It is recognized that individuals may seek counsel from the Dean of the relevant Faculty before making allegation(s). The Dean should have a sense of fairness and be able to distinguish between misconduct, differences of opinion and incompetence. The Dean has the responsibility to inform the member concerned, to make reasonable, thorough, and (except where the TCPS2 and Framework as amended from time to time require disclosure and reporting to be done) confidential inquiries and to make every effort to resolve the matter informally.  Where no written allegation(s) is forthcoming no action shall be taken and no record(s) shall be kept. Written anonymous allegations(s) will be accepted, however there is no requirement that such allegation(s) will be investigated.

60:08           No imputation of fraud and/or misconduct in research by member(s) of the bargaining unit may be made except as prescribed in accordance with the provisions of this Article and in accordance with the TCPS2 and the Framework as amended from time to time.

60:09            (a)     All allegation(s) of fraud and/or misconduct in research shall be in writing, and shall be signed and directed to the Dean of the relevant Faculty with such evidence as is available at the time of the allegation.  In the event the Dean is a named party in the allegation(s), the Dean's responsibilities in these matters shall fall to the Provost.

(b)     The Dean shall formally acknowledge, in writing, receipt of the allegation(s) and inform the individual(s) making the allegation(s) of the process outlined in this Article.  The Dean shall also indicate to the individual(s) that unless she/he hears to the contrary, the written allegation(s) shall be forwarded to the member concerned within five (5) working days.

(c)     The member(s) named in the allegation(s) shall be informed of the allegation(s) by the Dean in writing, including a complete copy of the signed allegation(s), within five (5) working days of the written and signed allegation(s) by the Dean.

(d)     After a reasonable inquiry, the Dean shall determine whether the allegation(s) have sufficient substance to warrant investigation.  Within five (5) working days after the notification required in (c) above, the Dean shall inform the following individuals in writing whether or not an investigation will take place:  the President, the member(s) named in the allegation(s), and the President of the Faculty Association.  In the event that the Dean decides that no investigation will take place, the allegation(s) shall be dismissed, no action taken, and all documentation pertaining to the allegation(s) shall be destroyed immediately.

60:10            (a)     In the event an investigation is to occur the Dean of the relevant Faculty shall investigate the written allegation(s) promptly, fairly, judiciously, and in a confidential manner. The member(s) shall be notified in writing by the Dean that she/he has the right to be represented by the Association and that she/he should contact the Association before responding to the allegation(s). The member(s) against whom the allegation(s) have been made shall be given a full opportunity to respond verbally or in writing to the allegation(s). Complete copies of all new or additional information shall be delivered to the member(s) within two (2) working days of receipt by the Dean.

(b)     A representative of the Association shall be present at all meetings involving the member(s) named in the allegation(s) during the course of the formal investigation.  Any statements made by the member(s) and/or her/his representative of the Association during these discussions or meetings shall be strictly without prejudice and the representative of the Faculty Association shall have the same rights and role in the proceedings as the member(s).

(c)     If a member is accused of research fraud and/or misconduct and if questions pertaining to the member's data are relevant to the accusation, the member shall make her/his data available during the formal investigation process or to the arbitrator adjudicating the case according to the procedures of this Article. A member shall only be responsible for providing access to data that are in her/his possession and not for data that may be stored in archives, libraries or other institutions which the University may consult at its expense and according to the rules of the host institution.  The member shall be indemnified by the University for any material loss that occurs as a consequence of access to her/his data in conjunction with the investigation.

60:11           The Dean shall communicate her/his findings in writing to the President within fifty (50) working days of the date when the member(s) was in receipt of the written allegation(s) made against her/him.  The President, within sixty (60) working days from the date when the member(s) was in receipt of the written allegation(s) made against her/him, shall inform the member(s) against whom the allegation(s) were made, and the President of the Faculty Association, in writing of the intended disposition of the allegation(s), including any sanctions imposed upon the member(s) as a result of her/him having been found guilty of fraud and/or misconduct.  In the event that the allegation(s) against the member(s) is not upheld no sanction shall be imposed and all records pertaining to the allegation(s) and investigation shall be destroyed immediately.

60:12           Any discipline imposed on a member for fraud and/or misconduct in research shall be subject to the Grievance and Arbitration Procedures of this Agreement in Article 39 commencing at Step 3.

60:13           Notwithstanding any other disciplinary measures, any statement by a senior member of the administration or of the Board of Governors that a member was guilty of the allegation(s) should be treated as constituting discipline and should be fully grievable and arbitrable, with all evidence being heard de novo, unless the statement is withdrawn unconditionally in writing.

60:14          (a)       In the event that the Faculty Association serves notice to the University that it is proceeding to arbitration, the parties agree the issue shall be heard by a single arbitrator under the provisions of Article 39 of this Agreement.  The arbitrator shall hear all the evidence de novo.

(b)       Should the matter be referred to an arbitrator, the University shall bear the onus of proving just and sufficient cause.  The arbitrator shall have the power to reduce the penalty imposed by the University.

(c)       No person consulted by the University concerning the case shall be appointed an arbitrator in any subsequent arbitration proceedings dealing with the allegation(s) against the member(s) being investigated.

60:15           If the President decides after formal investigation not to proceed against the member(s) named in the allegation(s), or if the arbitrator decides in favour of the member(s), the University shall remove all documentation from the member(s)'s file(s) and shall, at the sole discretion of the member, destroy the documentation or transfer it to the member(s).  The University shall retain any arbitration report which shall be a public document.  The University agrees to take such steps as may be necessary and reasonable to protect the reputation and credibility of persons wrongfully accused of fraud and/or misconduct in research.

60:16           The University agrees to take such steps as may be necessary to protect the rights of members of the bargaining unit who make allegation(s) in good faith or whom the University calls as witnesses and who give evidence in good faith, including, as a minimum, legal counsel and other legal costs should they be sued for their participation in the formal investigation undertaken by the Dean or in the arbitration proceedings.

60:17           The University agrees that it shall initiate disciplinary action against those who make allegation(s) of fraud and/or misconduct in research that are reckless, malicious or not in good faith and it shall take all reasonable steps to restore the reputation of the individual(s) who are falsely accused. 

60:18           The parties agree that if an allegation(s) of fraud and/or misconduct in research is sustained in relation to research that is funded by an outside agency or has been published or submitted for publication, the President shall inform the agency or publisher concerned of that decision.  If the outside agency or publisher has been informed of the proceedings before a judgment has been rendered, the President shall send a copy of her/his decision, or that of the arbitrator, to the agency or publisher concerned.  The member(s) named in the allegation(s) shall be given copies of all documents (both internal and those sent to external individuals, agencies or publishers) pertaining to the said allegation(s).

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