1 February 2011

New independent Committee to assure research integrity

Australian taxpayers can be confident the research activities they fund meet the highest ethical and moral standards thanks to the establishment of the Gillard Labor Government’s Australian Research Integrity Committee (ARIC).

Announcing that the Committee is now open for business, Innovation Minister Senator Kim Carr and Mental Health and Ageing Minister Mark Butler reinforced the importance of upholding Australia’s science and research reputation and ensuring public research funds are used appropriately.

“The Government recognises that Australia’s researchers and research institutes are amongst the best and most respected in the world. And as such, we proudly invest billions of dollars in research each year. However, the Government’s reputation must be protected and our investment must be ethical,” Senator Carr said.

“That is why the Government takes allegations of misconduct very seriously. We expect all allegations to be investigated thoroughly and the taxpayer deserves nothing less.

“From today, where it is believed an institution has not taken appropriate action in their internal investigations into alleged research misconduct, individuals and groups can request the case be reviewed by the Committee.”

Mr Butler said the Committee’s review will be in line with the framework set out in the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research, which promotes integrity by guiding institutions and researchers in responsible research practices.

“The Committee does not replace institutional investigation. Research institutions maintain their autonomy and are responsible for investigating allegations of research misconduct in the first instance,” Mr Butler said.

The Committee is jointly administered by the Australian Research Council (ARC) and the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC).

Committee members were appointed earlier this month and are individuals with a reputation for integrity and impartiality, with wide experience.

For more information on ARIC, including its underlying framework and how to submit a request for a review, visit the ARC or NHMRC website.