Review of the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research

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The Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research (2007) (the Code) is currently under review. The Code Review is a joint endeavour between the ARC, the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) and Universities Australia (UA).

The Code guides institutions and researchers in responsible research practices by setting the required standards, and provides advice on managing departures from these standards. The Code is intended primarily for use by any individual or institution conducting research in Australia.

Under the review, it is proposed to streamline the Code into a principles-based document that will be supported by guides providing advice for implementation of the Code. The first guide is on investigating and managing potential breaches of the Code. Subsequent guides will be developed based in part on advice received during public consultation and on relevant areas of Part A of the existing Code. It is important to note that the draft Code is not a change in requirements—it is a clarification of the requirements contained in the current version—and looks to provide greater clarity to both institutions and researchers, making their obligations easier to identify and address.

This new approach has been informed by extensive consultation with the research sector and advice from the Code Review Committee and a Better Practice Guides working group.

The ARC, NHMRC and UA are keen to ensure that the Australian community and research sector has the best opportunity to participate in developing guidance on the expected standards for Australian research. The draft principles-based Code and the first draft Guide were released for public consultation on 28 November 2016. The draft documents are accompanied by an explanation of the new approach and frequently asked questions.

Submissions received during public consultation will be considered during the final revisions to the draft documents. The date of release for the final revised Code and first Guide is highly dependent on the number and complexity of submissions received during public consultation, but is expected to be in the second half of 2017.

Further information on the review, including how to make a submission, can be found on the NHMRC website.