Research Ethics

Policy on Ethical Conduct in Research

The University expects of its members (which include faculty, students and anyone holding a university post or any office that gives university status, such as that of a fellow or a research associate), the highest standards of ethical conduct in every aspect of research including applications, proposals, the research itself, reports and publications. The term “research” is broadly defined and is intended to include both scientific and non-scientific research and research that is not extramural funding.

It is neither possible nor desirable to foresee or to define what constitutes ethical conduct in all circumstances. This policy leaves many such matters untouched: it does not, for example, apply to the question of whether a certain kind or line of research is itself ethical.

The University considers that the highest ethical standards in research would entail (although not exclusively):

  • The accurate presentation and interpretation of experimental data and other factual information;
  • Due acknowledgment to another’s work;
  • The maintenance of confidentiality with respect to information supplied by another when requested and appropriate use of that information in a manner authorized by the supplier of the information, and in accordance with scholarly practice;
  • The appropriate use and allocation of money or other resources supplied for research purposes.

Proper ethical procedures can be encouraged by increasing awareness of ethical issues and by administrative measures such as review of research proposals, progress reports, rules for the preservation of data, and audits. Room for misunderstanding may be reduced by precision in the terms of an award. Since the practice and procedures on such matters necessarily vary in different divisions of the University, divisions are encouraged to develop their own guidelines in furtherance of the University policy. Such guidelines must conform to the University’s policies and procedures, and copies must be sent to the Vice-President (Research) and the Provost. The object of such guidelines will be to create an atmosphere that encourages ethical conduct, without interfering with freedom of inquiry, and without causing unnecessary administrative burdens.

Allegations of misconduct will be taken seriously by the University following the established practices and procedures of the University and all enquiries and proceedings will be conducted expeditiously.

  • The Office of Research Ethics website provides detailed policies, application forms and pertinent information needed to submit an ethics protocol for review.
  • Additional policies and guidelines governing graduate activities can be obtained at the SGS website.