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Responsible Conduct of Research Policy

Responsible Conduct of Research Information

Date Approved: May 17, 2021
Effective Date: May 17, 2021
Date Reviewed: Fall 2020
Replaces: Policy on Responsible Conduct of Research 2012


To set the requirements to govern the highest standards of Research integrity, quality and scholarship at Cambrian College (‘the College’), to ensure compliance with the Tri-Agency Framework for Responsible Conduct of Research, and to promote the College’s expectations in the conduct of Research.


Breach:  the act of violating or breaking the terms of this Policy, the Tri-Agency Framework or any other applicable rules, laws, or practices when carrying out research at or associated with the College.

Misconduct: refers to conduct and/or activities that intentionally, negligently, recklessly or deliberately departed from accepted standards in the execution of Research adopted by the community.

Principal Investigator: the individual who submits the Research application and accepts responsibility for the Research project and who is responsible for ensuring compliance with the requirements the Research Ethics Committee and the TCPS 2 and, also, the ethical treatment of Human Participants, where relevant, throughout the life of the project.

Research: an undertaking intended to extend knowledge through a disciplined inquiry and/or systematic investigation.

Application/ Scope

This Policy applies to all employees through their employment with the College, or students in furtherance of their studies, or any other individual in any capacity in research at or associated with the College.

This policy is also applicable to all allegations of Breach of the Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans Policy.

Policy Statements

  1. General
    1. The College expects and requires adherence to the highest standards of intellectual honesty, integrity in Research, appropriate methodology, ethical standards of discipline and the refusal to engage in, or to condone, instances of fraud or Misconduct.
    2. The College is committed to –
      1. Providing appropriate support mechanisms that guide and ensure Research is conducted with honesty, integrity and intellectual competence.
      2. Promoting and communicating practices regarding the importance of responsible conduct in Research and that articulate the high level of ethical standards required in Research, teaching and other aspects of scholarship.
      3. Creating and supporting an open and positive environment that protects the right of the Researcher to pursue honest, responsible and thoughtful inquiry, rigorous analysis and dissemination of Research results.
    3. Research conducted under the auspices of the College aligns to the guidelines of Tri-Agency Framework: Responsible Conduct of Research (2016).
    4. Researchers are required to follow best Research practices honestly, accountably, openly and fairly in the search for, and in the dissemination, of knowledge.
    5. Researchers associated directly or indirectly with any agency funding within or outside of Canada, by virtue of signing the applications for grant or award, agree to abide with the requirements of this policy, as well as the Tri-Agency Framework: Responsible Conduct of Research.
    6. Anyone conducting or involved in Research at the College must read and comply with the College’s Conflict of Interest Policy.
  2. Responsibilities of Principal Investigators
    1. Principal Investigators are responsible for overseeing all the Research conducted by their students and Research staff. Specifically, Principal Investigators are:
      1. To ensure all Research is conducted with the highest level of scholarly and academic integrity.
      2. To provide their collaborators, students, staff, and assistants with all reasonable information through training and education to prevent Misconduct as defined in this policy.
      3. To actively monitor the work of students, Research assistants and others, and oversee the designing of Research methodology and the processes of acquiring, recording, examining, interpreting and sorting data.
      4. To hold mutually respectful discussions among all Research personnel in a Research unit, where relevant, on a regular schedule to contribute to the scholarly efforts of group members and to provide informal review.
      5. To verify the authenticity of all data or other information generated in their Research.
  3. Responsibilities of Researchers: Researchers shall strive to follow best research practices honestly, accountably, openly, and fairly. At a minimum, researches are responsible for the following:
    1. Academic Rigour
      1. Researches are expected to apply scholarly and scientific rigour in proposing and performing research, in recording, analysing, and interpreting data, and in reporting and publishing data findings.
    2. Records Keeping, Data Collection, and Retention
      1. Researchers are responsible for keeping complete and accurate record of data, methodologies and findings in accordance with the applicable funding agreement, College policies, laws, regulations, and professional or disciplinary standards that will allow verification or replication of the work by others.
      2. Stringent standards of honesty and integrity in the collection, recording and storage of data is of the utmost importance in advancing the progress of scientific and scholarly inquiry.
        1. A Researcher must have access to their original data in order to respond to questions regarding their Research. Error may be mistaken for Misconduct when the primary experimental results or data are unavailable.
        2. Original data must be retained by the Principal Investigator(s) for a minimum of five years or such longer periods as required by funding agencies or funding oversight agencies.
        3. Principal Investigators shall set guidelines for how data will be recorded in their Research group.
        4. Data storage shall follow the conventions and conform to the standards of the Principal Investigator’s discipline.
        5. Data must be stored/retained in ways that preserve their confidentiality and the integrity of the data.
        6. Original data shall not be destroyed while Researchers, colleagues, College officials, or readers of published results may raise questions answerable only by reference to the data.
        7. Data shall only be used for the purpose it was originally collected.
        8. Principal investigators and all co-Researchers must always have free access to all original data and products of the Research subject to any limitations imposed by the terms of the grants, contracts, or other arrangement for the conduct of the Research.
        9. Issues of confidentiality will arise in some disciplines and areas of Research and these must be appropriately addressed during the review process. Researchers conducting studies involving humans must follow the requirements of the College’s Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans Policy in alignment with the guidelines outlined in the Tri-Council Policy Statement, Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans (TCPS 2).
        10. Entitlement to ownership, reproduction and publication of primary data, software another product of Research should be reached among collaborators, supervisors, students and, where applicable, the College before the Research is undertaken. The agreement shall be in accord with the College’s policy on Intellectual Property.
    3. Accurate Referencing
      1. Researchers are responsible for referencing and, where applicable, obtaining permission for the use of all published and unpublished work, including theories, concepts, data, source material, methodologies, findings, graphs, and images
    4. Authorship and Acknowledgements
      1. In order to ensure the publication of accurate scholarly reports, two requirements must be met –
        1. The active participation of each author in verifying and taking responsibility of the part of the document that they have contributed.
        2. The designation of one author who is responsible for the validity of the entire document.
      2. “Honourary authorship” is not permitted.
      3. The assistance and substantive contributions of all contributors should be recognized through acknowledgement or authorship.
      4. The principal criterion for authorship should be that the person(s) made significant scholarly and/or practical contributions to the contents of the publication or presentation, and the person accepts responsibility for the contents or publication of the document. The substantial contribution may be conceptual or material.
      5. Researchers should acknowledge all those and only those who have contributed to the research, including funders and sponsors.
  4. Breaches by Researchers
    1. The following behaviours or actions demonstrate a lack of Research Integrity and constitute a Breach of the Tri-Agency Research Integrity Policy –
      1. The fabrication, falsification or intentional misrepresentation of Research data.
      2. Serious deviation from Research practices commonly accepted within the scholarly and scientific community for proposing, conducting or reporting Research.
      3. The intentional destruction of one’s own or another’s Research data or records to specifically avoid the detection of wrongdoing, or in contravention of any applicable funding agreement, College policy, laws, regulations, and professional or disciplinary standards where appropriate.
      4. Unauthorized appropriation and/or use of another’s work, or theft of ideas or intellectual property, or plagiarism.
      5. Redundant publication or self-plagiarism, such as the re-publication of one’s own previously published work or part thereof, including data, without adequate acknowledgement of the source or justification.
      6. Failure to recognize the substantive contributions of others including co-Researchers, students or other collaborators.
      7. Inaccurately attributing authorship, including attribution of authorship to persons other than those who have made a substantial contribution to, and who accept responsibility for, the contents of the publication.
      8. Forgery of documents including academic credentials.
      9. Use of archival material in violation of the Copyright Act.
      10. Harassment, discrimination, abuse or any behaviour contrary to the College’s Code of Conduct.
      11. Failure to appropriately manage any real, potential or perceived conflict of interest, in accordance with the College’s Conflict of Interest Policy.
      12. Material failure to comply with relevant College policies, federal or provincial statutes or regulations for the protection of Researchers, human participants, or the health and safety of the public, or for the welfare of laboratory animals.
      13. Material failure to meet other relevant legal requirements that relate to the conduct of Research, or, for grant holders, material failure to comply with regulations of the relevant agency or agencies concerning the conduct of Research.
      14. Financial misconduct including but not limited to failure to use Research funds for the purpose for which they were given in accordance with the College’s policies and guidelines governing the use of and record-keeping for such funds.
      15. Failure to disclose a financial or personal interest in any transaction chargeable to Research grant or contract.
      16. Failure to inform the College of a substantial change in the use of Research funds.
      17. The use of College resources, facilities or equipment without the approval of the College.
      18. Preventing one or more objectives of the Tri-Agency Framework from being met.
    2. Researchers play a pivotal role of addressing any allegation of Breach fairly and in a timely manner. Researchers are to report in writing, any information pertaining to a possible or real Breach, to the Vice President Academic.
  5. Addressing Allegations of Breaches
    1. All parties involved in the conduct of College-approved Research have an obligation to report to the College any situations which they believe may Breach this policy.
    2. In the event of any evidence or allegations of a breach of this Policy, the College shall undertake an investigation to determine, if, in fact, a breach has occurred.
    3. The College ensures a fair, objective and comprehensive process for addressing and investigating an allegation of Breach.
    4. The process shall take such steps as may be reasonable to protect the privacy of all parties and to protect against any retribution or coercion of complainants.
    5. The College shall advise the relevant agency or Secretariat on Responsible Conduct of Research (“SRCR”) immediately of any allegations related to activities funded by the agency. The College will also advise the SRCR whether or not it is proceeding with an investigation.
    6. The College shall follow all reporting obligations to the SRCR as set out in the Tri-Agency Framework.
  6. Discipline and Penalties
    1. In cases where Misconduct or Breach of the Policy has occurred, such determination is cause for discipline in accordance with either the appropriate Collective Agreement or College policies/regulations/practices in place.
    2. Penalties for Misconduct or Breach of the Policy may include, but are not limited to, one or more of the following:
      1. Ongoing monitoring of the Research project, with scheduled reports provided by the Principal Investigator(s) to the Chair of the Research Ethics Committee, or to such official as appointed by the College
      2. Suspension of the Research project
      3. Reimbursement to the College of any misappropriated funds
      4. A summary report of the investigation into the allegations being placed in the personnel file of an employee and/or academic file of a student
      5. Suspension of duties of an employee for a prescribed period in accordance with the terms of any applicable collective agreement, and/or suspension of a student
      6. Dismissal of an employee and/or expulsion of a student
      7. Public disclosure of the Breach.
    3. The College endeavours to remedy any damage or inconvenience caused by the Misconduct or Breach of integrity of the Researcher(s).

Responsibilities and Accountability

Vice President Academic is responsible for:

  • Ensuring the accessibility, review and communication of this policy and associated procedures;
  • Promoting the responsible conduct of research

Planning, Institutional Research and Quality is responsible for:

  • Managing the Procedure for Investigation of Alleged Breach in Conduct of Research
  • Providing a full copy of any report arising from an investigation to the agency from who the Researcher received funding as well as to the Tri-Council as appropriate.

Researchers are responsible for:

  • Becoming familiar and complying with the requirements of this and associated Research and College policies.

Related Procedures