Research integrity

"The knowledge created through Research conducted by the University of Ottawa contributes to the intellectual, social, health and economic fabric of society. Our communities and society trust the integrity of our Researchers and have confidence in our institutional and individual compliance with the regulations, policies, practices and ethical norms which govern Research. The University of Ottawa recognizes its responsibility to provide an environment that supports and promotes the responsible conduct of research."

— Policy 115 of the University of Ottawa

Understanding what is Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR)

Conducting research responsibly means that the individuals involved in research exhibit honest and ethical behaviour at all stages of this work: from the development of the research idea, to the request for funding, the collection, analysis and retention of data as well as the dissemination of the results.

 

Who does the Policy apply to?

All members of the University community who are engaged in research, including:

  • Employees (unionized and non-unionized academic and administrative staff as well as those whose salary is paid through sources other than the University’s operating funds, such as grants, research grants and external contracts);
  • Students (full time or part time), special students, at the undergraduate or graduate level;
  • Clinicians and physicians with an academic appointment, adjunct and emeritus professors, post-doctoral or clinical fellows, Research Trainees, medical residents, visitors, including visiting students and volunteers.

Note: The Policy applies to all funded or unfunded research projects, regardless of the location of the Research.

 

How can you conduct yourself responsibly?

  • Respect the University’s policies as well as applicable professional and disciplinary standards.
  • Comply with applicable laws and regulations.
  • At a minimum, researchers are responsible for the following:
    • Using a high level of rigour in: proposing research; performing research; recording, analyzing, and interpreting data; and reporting and publishing data and findings.
    • Keeping complete and accurate records of data, methodologies and findings, including graphs and images, in accordance with the applicable funding agreement, institutional policies and/or laws, regulations, and professional or disciplinary standards in a manner that will allow verification or replication of the work by others.
    • Referencing and, where applicable, obtaining permission for the use of all published and unpublished work, including data, source material, methodologies, findings, graphs and images.
    • Including as authors, with their consent, all those and only those who have materially or conceptually contributed to, and share responsibility for, the contents of the publication or document, in a manner consistent with their respective contributions, and authorship policies of relevant publications.
    • Acknowledging, in addition to authors, all contributors and contributions to research, including writers, funders and sponsors.
    • Appropriately manage any real, potential or perceived conflict of interest, in accordance with the institution's policy on conflict of interest in research.

How to recognize a Breach

A breach of the Policy includes, but is not limited to, the following:

Fabrication

Making up data, source material, methodologies or findings, including graphs & images.

Falsification

Manipulating, changing, or omitting data, source material, methodologies or findings, [...], without acknowledgement and which results in inaccurate findings or conclusions.

Destruction of research records

The destruction of one's own or another's research data or records to specifically avoid the detection of wrongdoing or in contravention of  [...] laws, regulations and professional or disciplinary standards.

Plagiarism

Presenting and using another's published or unpublished work, including theories, concepts, data, source material, methodologies or findings, including graphs and images, as one's own, without appropriate referencing and, if required, without permission.

Redundant publications

The re-publication of one's own previously published work or part there of, or data, in the same or another language, without adequate acknowledgment of the source, or justification.

Invalid authorship

Inaccurate attribution of authorship, including attribution of authorship to persons other than those who have contributed sufficiently to take responsibility for the intellectual content, or agreeing to be listed as author to a publication for which one made little or no material contribution.

Mismanagement of conflict of interest

Failure to appropriately manage any real, potential or perceived conflict of interest, in accordance with the Institution's policy on conflict of interest in research.

Misrepresentation in a funding application or related documents
  • Providing incomplete, inaccurate or false information in a grant or award application or related document, such as a letter of support or a progress report, including misrepresenting one's credentials, qualifications and/or research contributions;
  • Applying for and/or holding an NSERC, SSHRC or CIHR award when deemed ineligible by NSERC, SSHRC, CIHR or any other research or research funding organization world-wide for reasons of Breach of Responsible Conduct of Research policies such as ethics, integrity or financial management policies.
  • Listing of co-applicants, collaborators or partners without their agreement.
Mismanagement of Grants or Award Funds

Using grant or award funds for purposes inconsistent with the University or Research Sponsor policies; misappropriating grants and award funds; contravening Research Sponsor financial policies; or providing incomplete, inaccurate or false information on documentation for expenditures from grant or award accounts.

Breaches of policy and regulatory requirements
  • Failing to meet University Policies or Procedures, Applicable Laws, or Research Sponsors’ policies, rules, regulations, or contractual agreements or to comply with relevant policies, laws or regulations including, without limitation;
    • the Tri-Agency Framework: Responsible Conduct of Research;
    • 2nd edition of Tri-Council Policy Statement: Ethical Conduct of Research Involving Humans (TCPS 2);
    • Canadian Council on Animal Care Policies and Guidelines;
    • Agency policies related to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act;
    • Licenses for research in the field;
    • Laboratory Biosafety Guidelines;
    • Controlled Goods Program;
    • Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) Regulations;
    • Canada’s Food and Drugs Act;
    • access to information and protection of privacy laws.
  • Failing to obtain appropriate approvals, permits or certifications before conducting research activities.

Making an allegation

Role of OREI Director in the Allegation process
  • Serves as central point of contact; receives and is informed of all Allegations
  • Ensures that the Allegation is clearly defined (if not, obtains clarification)
  • Determine who is the Appropriate Authority (usually the Dean)
  • Determine whether or not the research is funded and if so, by whom
    • If so, may need to follow-up with an Agency or other funding body
  • Send the Allegation to the Appropriate Authority
  • Ensure process is followed (Inquiry and Investigation)
  • Don’t make assumptions re innocence or guilt
Overview of the process for addressing an Allegation

 

  1. Director, OREI receives written Allegation
  2. Sends Allegation to Dean (Appropriate Authority), who conducts an Inquity
  3. If investigation needed, file is sent to investigative  committee
  4. The committee conducts investigation
  5. Chair of the committee provides a report to the Dean and to Director, OREI
  6. If substance to Allegation, Dean decides on consequences / measures
Making an allegation

Before bringing forth an Allegation, we highly recommend that you carefully read Policy 115 and Procedure 29-2. This checklist can help you to prepare your documents.

Allegations can be submitted in person or via email to:

Catherine Paquet
Director, Office of Research Ethics and Integrity
Tabaret Hall, Room 155
550 Cumberland, Ottawa

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