College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences

Research Integrity Statement

Policy on Research Integrity

This webpage offers an overview and a summary of the extensive materials related to research integrity, ethics, procedures and disciplinary actions at CityU. The aim is to assist all members of CLASS to have a clearer idea and awareness on research integrity and thus boost the overall research standards of all those who engage in research in the College. The description stated here is not exhaustive and the reader should always be reminded to maintain the highest standard in his or her own research. Readers can also directly access the more detailed statements through the hyperlinks in each section.
1. Principles of Research Integrity

CLASS stresses the importance of research ethics and integrity in the conduct of research. Each individual of the College must possess the highest standards of professionalism and conduct. All researchers must comply with the principles of research integrity such as honesty, objectivity and integrity be they a freshman undergraduate or a senior professor.

When conducting research activities, members of the College should, apart from adopting good research practice, avoid engaging in any research misconduct such as plagiarism, fabrication, falsification, and non-disclosure of potential conflict of interest, etc. For research involving human subjects, ethical reviews must be conducted and submitted, and approval must be obtained before the collection of data. Without ethical approval research findings should not be published.

2. Research conduct

Research ethics provides guidelines for the responsible conduct of research. In addition, it educates and monitors researchers conducting research to ensure a high ethical standard, including making balances between benefits and risk and the protection and well-being of research subjects. Research designs should be of the highest standards, projects should be well considered and carefully conducted. Principles of good research include, but are not limited to, honesty, objectivity, integrity, carefulness, openness, respect for intellectual property, confidentiality, responsible publication, responsible mentoring, respect for colleagues, social responsibility, non-discrimination, competence, legality, and human subjects protection. A more detailed description of these principles and related materials such as books are available here. Students and faculty are encouraged to examine the detailed statement from the US Office of Research Integrity.

3. Research data (source: RO Data)

For the advancement of scholarly research, all forms of research data should be open to reasonable scrutiny and discussion after publication except that there is a need for confidentiality in some occasions, such as commissioned research or when intellectual property right has to be protected. Also, research data should neither be used to the personal advantage of the researcher or a third party, nor be fabricated or manipulated. The data should be properly referenced, recorded and retained according to the discipline.

For more details, please refer to Research Office Code of Practice for Research Data

4. Conduct on publications and co-authorship

All significant contributions by the collaborators, including fellow faculty members, research assistants, technical assistants and students, should be recognized and properly acknowledged. Both improper inclusion and improper exclusion in authorship should be avoided. Credit for another person’s work, data, ideas, concepts, information, or other material should be appropriately recognized and acknowledged in the relevant publication(s).

More detailed guidelines are available in Research Office Code of Practice for Research Publications and also in School of Graduate Students Research Degree Supervision: A Code of Practice Publications.

5. Conflict of interest

Members of CLASS should avoid actual, potential or perceived conflict of interest between their private interests and their duties or obligations to the University. Private interests mean both financial and personal interests of the staff members or those of their connections, including family, personal friends, companies, groups or any of whom they owe a favour. Full disclosure of all information pertinent to an actual, potential or perceived conflict of interest should be made.

More detailed explanation is available in Human Resources Office Code of Conduct Avoid and Declare Conflict of Interest and in Human Resources Office General Rules and Regulations Conflict of Interest.

A non-exhaustive list of examples on conflict of interest situations in areas such as personal relationship, financial relationship and outside practice can be found in the Code of Conduct.

6. Care and safety

Care, safety and respect should be core values informing the conduct of research. Research participants should be safe, risks and distress should be minimized, and environmental and social repercussions arising from research should be reduced. Researchers must comply with the University’s regulations and any Government ordinances covering health and safety. They must take all reasonable steps to ensure the safety of all persons associated with their research. Further details can be found in the University’s Health and Safety documentation.

7. Outside Work, Outside Practice and Contract Research

Outside Practice and Outside Work

The University encourages and supports faculty members to engage in outside practice relating to high-level and advanced work, using their talents, expertise and professional experience to support industry, commerce and the community provided that it does not compete or conflict with, or adversely affect their primary activities and responsibilities to the University. University Policy on Outside Practice has been prepared in this spirit and is intended to encourage staff to engage in such work, thereby strengthening the links of the University with the community. Engagement in Outside Work, although permitted, is generally discouraged and staff members must fulfil the requirements set out in the regulations. Non-exhaustive lists of examples of outside practice activities, outside work activities and usual milieux of academic life are available in the appendices in Regulations on Outside Practice and Outside Work. For more comprehensive information, please check with Outside Practice Administrative Unit.

8. Research Misconduct and Reporting Research Misconduct

Research misconduct is ethically unacceptable practices in the academic community for proposing, performing, or reviewing research. These include plagiarism and self-plagiarism, Fabrication, Falsification, and Improper Ascription of Authorship.

Cases of potential research misconduct should be reported to and handled by the respective Head of Department as far as practicable. It is expected that most cases can be handled at the departmental level.

Only serious incidents (such as gross misconduct, as illustrated in Appendix 1 in Regulations Governing Staff Discipline) or cases unresolved at the departmental level will require the involvement of the Provost/a Vice-President or equivalent, or require the formation of a Disciplinary Committee. Detailed procedures of reporting research misconduct can be found in IV. Disciplinary Procedure 19. General in Regulations Governing Staff Discipline.

9. Application for Human Ethical Review

All research and course-based activities involving human subjects should be submitted to the relevant committee for ethical review. This is applicable to research activities conducted by staff (teaching and research, as PI or Co-I) and students (undergraduate and postgraduate students) on the University premises, or at other off-campus/off-shore sites as a result of collaboration or subcontracting of activities by the University. The procedures, guidelines and application forms can be found here.

10. Regulations Governing Staff Discipline

The University has a set of guidelines that regulate staff members’ behavioural standards, including those relating to the conduct of research. Any breach of such standards will be considered as misconduct; disciplinary procedures and actions will be used to deal with such cases.

The principles, scope and disciplinary procedures can be found in Regulations Governing Staff Discipline in HRO.

11. Examples of Good Practice

Below is a list of good research practice taken from the Run Run Shaw Library website:

More from Run Run Shaw Library: Ethics in Research

June 2014
Richard M. Walker

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