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Review of the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research (2007)

Anne Kelso
Med J Aust 2016; 205 (2): 49. || doi: 10.5694/mja16.00550
Published online: 18 July 2016

The Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research (2007) guides researchers in responsible research practices and promotes research integrity in Australia. It is a joint endeavour between the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), the Australian Research Council (ARC) and Universities Australia.

The Code is relevant to all research disciplines in Australia. It provides a framework for resolving research misconduct and alleged breaches of the Code in a fair and timely manner. Adherence to the Code is a condition of NHMRC and ARC funding.

The Code is being reviewed to ensure it remains practical and relevant to research practice. The review process involves three key steps: targeted consultation, public consultation, and approval and release of the final revised Code.

A Code review committee, whose members are experts in a range of research disciplines as well as in ethics and research integrity, has been appointed to assist with the review.

Targeted consultation on a revised draft of the Code was undertaken in late 2015 with around 100 organisations invited to provide feedback on the draft. The review received 48 submissions from universities, government agencies and research bodies, medical research institutes and other representative organisations.

The committee is now considering the detailed and varied feedback received during the targeted consultation. A theme that emerged from the consultation was that institutions require differing levels of advice about implementing and applying the Code. A proposed solution, which is under consideration to deal with this situation, is to make the Code more principles-based, and to develop best practice guides and other supporting documents to assist with its implementation.

The draft Code is expected to be released for public consultation by the end of 2016.

  • Anne Kelso

  • National Health and Medical Research Council, Canberra, ACT

Correspondence: anne.kelso@nhmrc.gov.au

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