Ethical Conduct of Research

PDAD&C #36, 2012-13

To:  PDAD&C 
From:      Paul Young, Vice-President, Research and Innovation
Cheryl Misak, Vice-President & Provost
Date:  December 4, 2012 
Re:  Ethical Conduct of Research 


The University of Toronto has recently signed the agreement with the Tri-Agency (Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada) which allows us to continue administering Tri-Agency funds. All eligible Canadian institutions wanting to administer Tri-Agency funds will be signing this agreement. In essence, the agreement codifies, clarifies and harmonizes the roles and responsibilities of the Tri-Agency and of institutions in the management of federal grants and awards.

At this time, we want to remind our research community of the following:

a. The Tri-Agency Framework: Responsible Conduct of Research. This articulates the tri-agency research integrity policy, agency policies, and processes and procedures for dealing with allegations of policy breaches (including research misconduct). All those applying for and receiving tri-agency funds should be familiar with this Framework.
b. The Tri-Council Statement Policy Statement on Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans;
c. The guidelines of the Canadian Council on Animal Care (CCAC);
d. The University's Policy on Ethical Conduct in Research that sets "the highest standards of ethical conduct in every aspect of research including applications, proposals, the research itself, reports and publications" as an expectation of all members of the University;
e. The University's Framework to Address Allegations of Research Misconduct that ensures University policies and procedures remain consistent with best practices and the expectations of the Tri-Agency. The University's Framework defines research misconduct as "any research practice that deviates seriously from the commonly accepted ethics/integrity standards or practices of the relevant research community and includes but is not limited to intentional fabrication, falsification, and plagiarism as defined by the University's Code of Behaviour on Academic Matters. However, in the latter respect, due latitude is given for honest errors, honest differences in methodology, interpretation or judgment, or divergent paradigms in science; what is at issue are genuine breaches of the integrity of the research process."

We expect our academic community to be knowledgeable about these relevant policies/documents concerning academic/scientific integrity. Therefore, we ask the following of you:

1. Bring the above policies/documents to the attention of your divisions at the Council level and also to the attention of Departments with the request that they circulate this information to all their faculty;
2. Initiate and promote discipline-specific discussion about standards and expectations, including but not limited to misleading publications including self-plagiarism.
3. Encourage all faculty to bring research integrity and ethics issues to the attention of their research students.

The Provost and the Vice-President, Research and Innovation will be tabling this at upcoming P&D and PDAD&C meetings.