Data Management and Research Integrity—Research Integrity Advisor Data Workshop
6 September 2016
Justin Withers

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Presentation Overview

  • Australian Research Council Overview
  • Developments in Data Management
  • ARC Data Management Requirement
  • Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research
  • Research Data Initiatives in Australia

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 Australian Research Council Overview
The Australian Research Council 

  • The ARC is a Commonwealth entity within the Australian Government.
  • The ARC’s main responsibilities are:
  • providing funding for research through the competitive funding schemes of the National Competitive Grants Programme (NCGP)
    • evaluating the quality of research in universities under the Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) programme
    • providing policy advice on research matters to Government.
  • The ARC’s mission is to deliver policy and programmes that advance Australian research and innovation globally and benefit the community.
  • In seeking to achieve its mission, the ARC:
    • supports the highest quality fundamental and applied research and research training through national competition across all disciplines
    • brokers partnerships between researchers and industry, government, community organisations and the international community.
  • Clinical and other medical research is primarily supported by the NHMRC.

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 Australian Research Council Overview
ARC and research integrity

  • The ARC expects the highest standards of integrity in all aspects of research it funds. 
  • Research must be conducted according to appropriate ethical, legal and professional frameworks, obligations and standards in a research environment underpinned by a culture of integrity.
  • Key elements: 
    • Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research
    • ARC Research Integrity and Research Misconduct Policy
    • Australian Research Integrity Committee (ARIC), administered with National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC).

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 Australian Research Council Overview
2015–16 Federal Budget—R&D $9.7 billion

Diagram to illustrate proportion of funding allocated in 2014–15 Federal Budget to all Australian departments and agencies.

Diagram to illustrate proportion of funding allocated in 2015–16 Federal Budget to all Australian departments and agencies. Dollars allocated to agencies are shown by the size of the circles of each departments and Agency. This graph particularly illustrates about $9.7 billion of this funding which is allocated to R&D.

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 Australian Research Council Overview
Commonwealth investment in R&D 2015–16 ($m)

Diagram to illustrate proportion of funding allocated in 2014–15 Federal Budget to all Australian departments and agencies.

Horizontal bar chart showing Commonwealth Investment in R&D 2015–16 ($m) 

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 Australian Research Council Overview
ARC funded research data in context

  • ARC provides approximately $800 million in research funding through the NCGP each year – around nine per cent of Australian Government investment in research and development.
  • Data arising from ARC funded research must be considered in the context of broader issues relating to open access to research data and research data management.

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Developments in Data
Open access and open data

  • Open data commonly considered as part of the broader concepts of open access and open science.
    • Knowledge produced through publicly funded research provides benefits to researchers and the broader community.
  • Specific considerations are involved in dealing with research data, including differences between (and within) disciplines:
    • types of data produced
    • standards and approaches to data management, analysis, archiving, storing, sharing, citation and publication.
  • Open data and data management remain dynamic and rapidly evolving issues.
  • Trend towards open access to publicly funded research data.
  • Increasing support from research funders and publishers. 

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Developments in Data
International research funders

Varying requirements, expectations and focus, for example:

  • Data management plan (US National Science Foundation) vs data sharing plan (US National Institutes of Health).
  • Full data management plan submitted at application
    • US National Science Foundation; Individual research councils under RCUK; Wellcome Trust.
  • Retaining research datasets after the completion of a grant
    • Canadian Institute of Health Research; Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.
  • Repository for datasets – most UK funders provide or specify:
    • Economic and Social Research Council – UK Data Service
    • National Environment Research Council data centres
    • Medical Research Council; Cancer Research UK; Wellcome Trust – UK PubMed Central.

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Developments in Data
Academic publishers

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ARC Data Management Requirement
ARC Open Access Policy

  • “Any publications arising from an ARC supported research Project must be deposited into an open access institutional repository within a twelve (12) month period from the date of publication”. 
    • Where researchers are unable to meet this requirement, reasons must be provided in Final Reports. 
  • Publication metadata should be made available in an institutional repository upon publication, whether the publication is freely available, under embargo, or never to be made available.
  • Currently revising the policy to clarify requirements and language. 
    • Apply to “research outputs” rather than just “publications”.
    • Does not include research data outputs – these are addressed under the ARC’s data management requirement.

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ARC Data Management Requirement
ARC position on open data 

  • The ARC is committed to maximising the public and research community benefits from ARC funded research, including by ensuring greater access to research data. 
  • The ARC encourages researchers to deposit data arising from research projects in publicly accessible repositories. 
    • Included in ARC funding rules since 2007.
  • Recognising the challenges involved in addressing the rapid growth and significant changes occurring in relation to data, the ARC has not mandated open access to research data.
  • Open access to research data provides three types of benefits:

 

  1. Societal – publicly funded research data are a public good; their availability and use support private and public sector innovation and better informed, evidence based policymaking, which contribute to improved social, economic and other outcomes.
  2. Research – data availability and use contribute to the development and growth of science and research by reinforcing open inquiry and allowing the research community to analyse, verify, reproduce and build upon findings and methodologies.
  3. Individual – making research data openly available can provide career and reputational benefits that flow to individual researchers from the use and citation of research data outputs.

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ARC Data Management Requirement
Data management requirement 

  • Effective data management is an important part of ensuring open access to publicly funded research data.
  • The ARC requires researchers to outline how they plan to manage research data arising from ARC-funded research. 
    • Requirement has formed part of the NCGP application process since February 2014.
  • The ARC does not require full, detailed data management plans (such as those required by some funding agencies internationally).
  • Further information is available at: http://www.arc.gov.au> Policies and Strategies > Strategy > Research Data Management
  • Designed to encourage researchers to consider the ways in which they can best collect, format, describe, store, disseminate, share and reuse data throughout, and beyond, the project lifecycle.
    • Need to take account of particular approaches, standards and uses for data in different institutions, disciplines and research projects. 
  • Some institutions may have infrastructure and/or processes in place for storing, managing and sharing data—these are valuable resources that should be utilised.

 

The ARC’s requirement is consistent with:

 

  • Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research (2007)
    • Proper management of research data and primary materials by researchers.
    • Institutional policies addressing data ownership, storage, retention and “appropriate access…by the research community”.
  • OECD Principles and Guidelines for Access to Research Data from Public Funding (2007)
    • Guidance on the management of data and primary materials. 
    • Australia, as an OECD member, is expected (not legally bound) to implement the principles and guidelines.

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ARC Data Management Requirement
Comparison with NHMRC

  • NHMRC does not currently require data management plans.
  • Statement on Data Sharing 
    • similar to the ARC’s position, encourages data sharing and the provision of access to data.
  • Principles for Accessing and Using Publicly Funded Data for Health Research 
    • focus specifically on health related data.

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Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research
Background and purpose

  • The Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research (the Code) came into effect in 2007. 
  • ARC, NHMRC and Universities Australia are signatories to the Code.
  • Comprised of two parts:
    • Part A describes the principles and practices for encouraging the responsible conduct of research, for institutions and researchers 
    • Part B provides a framework for resolving allegations of breaches of this Code and research misconduct.

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Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research
Responsibilities

Dissemination of research (section 4)

  • Institutions: promote responsible publication and dissemination of research findings and support communication of research findings to the wider public.
  • “Researchers have a responsibility to their colleagues and the wider community to disseminate a full account of their research as broadly as possible”.

Management of research data (section 2)

  • Institutions: policies addressing ownership of research materials and data, storage, retention beyond the end of the project, and appropriate access by the research community.
  • Researchers: retaining research data and making them available for use by other researchers unless this is prevented by ethical, privacy or confidentiality matters.

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Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research
Review of the Code

  • A review of the Code commenced in 2015. 
  • Conducted by a Code Review Committee, with Secretariat support from NHMRC, ARC and Universities Australia.
  • Purpose is to ensure the Code remains practical and relevant in the context of an evolving research sector and landscape, both domestically and internationally.
  • Targeted consultation conducted in late 2015.
    • Much of the feedback focused on the level of detail that should be provided in the Code. Some institutions wanted more guidance, others thought it was too prescriptive.

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Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research
Development of principles-based Code and Better Practice Guides

  • In response to feedback a principles-based Code is being developed. It will be supported by a series of Better Practice Guides (BPGs).
  • This benefits of this approach are:
    • allows institutions flexibility in how to apply the principles and responsibilities supporting them
    • includes adopting an approach that is best suited to their size and internal systems.
    • designed to be effective across all disciplines.
  • It is expected that targeted consultation on the principles-based Code and the first BPG on managing allegations will be undertaken in late 2016, followed by public consultation in 2017.

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Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research
Ramifications for data management 

 

  • The principles-based Code will specify responsibilities for both institutions and researchers in relation to the management of research data.  
  • However, the bulk of the detail and guidance on data management and the dissemination of research findings in Sections 2 and 4 of the current Code will not appear in the principles-based Code.
  • It is likely that the series of BPGs will include a BPG on data management. 
  • Consideration is being given to how these BPGs will be developed with input from appropriately experienced individuals within institutions.

 

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Research Data Initiatives in Australia
Australian Government initiatives

  • Boosting the Commercial Returns from Research agenda for action
    • commitment that “a whole-of-government policy will be developed for opening business and community access to publicly funded research publications and data”.
  • National Innovation and Science Agenda initiative for “Promoting innovation through publishing and sharing public data”
    • implemented through Australian Government Public Data Policy Statement (7 December 2015) – government entities will, “where possible, ensure non-sensitive publicly funded research data is made open for use and reuse”.
  • Whole-of-government consideration of a national approach to open access to the outputs of publicly funded research, including data.
  • Productivity Commission inquiry into data availability and use – report expected March 2017.

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Research Data Initiatives in Australia
Other initiatives

Australian National Data Service (ANDS)

  • Research Data Australia – access data for research from Australian research, government and cultural organisations.
  • Services, support, resources, information and guides on data, including assistance in relation to ARC and NHMRC requirements.

Australian FAIR Access Working Group

  • Develop a national statement on open access to Australia’s research publications and support its promotion, use and implementation. 
  • Alignment with relevant activities including open data initiatives.