Academic Operational Policies

Subject: Integrity in Research and Scholarship Number:  AOP 220
Issued by: Vice-President Academic Date Issued:  October 2008
Supersedes: N/A Page:  1 of 9

Intellectual Propery – AOP 235

Academic Freedom – AOP 218

Academic Freedom Statement

 March 2014

Integrity in Research and Scholarship


Loyalist College supports and encourages the maintenance of the highest standards of conduct in research and scholarship. The primary responsibility for high standards of conduct in research and scholarship rests with the individuals carrying out these activities.


Loyalist College is committed to ensuring the highest standard of integrity in research and scholarship. The College expects and requires its employees and or students conducting research within the College or on behalf of the College to adhere to the principles described in the these regulations.  In particular, all research must adhere to the standards of research integrity as outlined in the Tri-Agency Framework: “Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR Framework)” issued jointly by the Canadian Institute for Health Research (CIHR), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC).

All researchers at Loyalist College are responsible for informing themselves of and complying with the requirement for the ethical conduct of research as detailed in these regulations and the Tri-Agency Framework.

All members of the College community share in the responsibility of ensuring that integrity in research and scholarship is adhered to and therefore is prepared to support and invoke the approved procedures at any time there is reasonable suspicion of misconduct in research or scholarship.

It is noted that misconduct in research and scholarship is an offence which, depending on its severity, is subject to a range of disciplinary measures up to and including dismissal.  Allegations of misconduct shall be dealt with according to the rules of natural justice, the relevant Collective Agreement, and the policies and procedures set forth by the Loyalist College Research Ethics Board specific to research involving human participants and scholarship.

Loyalist College will actively promote understanding of research and scholarship integrity issues by such means as offering workshops and seminars and the dissemination of relevant written material.

1.    Principles

Notwithstanding the Tri-Agency Framework, Loyalist College expects all those conducting research and scholarship to adhere to ethical standards including but not limited to the following:

1.1          Using scholarly and scientific rigor and integrity in obtaining, recording and analyzing data and in reporting and publishing results.

1.2          Recognizing the substantive contributions of all collaborators; using unpublished work of other researchers and scholars only with permission and due acknowledgment; and using archival material in accordance with the rules of archival source;

1.3          Ensuring that authorship of published work includes only personnel who have substantively contributed to, and share responsibility for, the contents of the publication;

1.4          Obtaining written permission of the author before using information, concepts or data obtained through access to confidential manuscripts or through applications for funds for research or training seen as a result of processes such as peer review.

2.    Loyalist  College Research Ethics Board

In order to ensure the consistent application of the highest standard of integrity in research and scholarship, Loyalist College under the direction of the Vice-President Academic, will appoint a Research Ethics Board (REB).

2.1          This Research Ethics Board chaired by The Vice-President Academic (or delegate) reviews all matters concerning research on human subjects under the jurisdiction of the college.

2.2          The Research Ethics Board will meet as required.  Written documentation of the Ethics review process will be kept on file.

2.3          The Research Ethics Board shall consist of:

  • Two members who have expertise in relevant disciplines, fields and methodologies covered by the REB
  • One member knowledgeable in ethics
  • One member knowledgeable in the relevant law
  • One community member who has no affiliation with the college

The Research Ethics Board may add temporary members to provide relevant expertise when required.

2.4          The Research Ethics Board retains the right in its sole discretion to approve or deny permission to conduct research.  The Research Ethics Board has sole responsibility for ethical approval including student projects that are conducted under faculty supervision as part of approved College courses.

2.5          Researchers and REB committee members shall disclose actual, perceived, or potential conflicts of interest to the Research Ethics Board.

3.    Research Proposals Subject to Ethical Review

3.1          Unless specifically excluded (see section 4 below), the requirement for ethical review applies to research proposals involving both human subjects and other types of research, whether or not financial support is involved and whether or not an ethical review is required by another agency.

3.1.a          Human subjects refers to living individuals and to groups of individuals such as social, ethnic, religious or economic groups.

3.1.b       Research involving human subjects includes any gathering of information from or about human subjects.  This includes physical, sociological, or psychological tests and measurements, survey research, non-intrusive observation, and the study of recorded data from previous studies, databases, and archives, in which it is possible to identify individuals.

3.1.c      Other research includes any gathering or development of information in jurisdictions other than humans or animals.

4.    Research Not Subject to Ethical Review

The following kinds of research proposals are exempted from the need for ethical review:

4.1          Research or other study of published writing or other public utterances of human subjects.

4.2          Quality assurance studies, performance reviews, questionnaires concerning employee performance or course content distributed to a class by faculty or others within normal educational requirements, and class projects.

4.3          Research conducted by the College where such research is conducted to meet external reporting requirements or to facilitate the management of the institution.

 5.    Approvals

5.1          Researchers must seek and obtain approval from Loyalist College Research Ethics Board before engaging in research involving human subjects research protocols in the performance of the research.  This applies to all projects whether or not special financial support is involved and whether or not an ethical review is required by another agency.

The committee has the authority to suspend and/or terminate research for failure to comply with the ongoing review process or on the basis of information from the review or other sources indicating the research should be halted on ethical grounds.  Except in the case of a reversal following formal appeal, the college may not reverse a Research Ethics Board – Human Subjects decision reached on grounds of ethics.

5.2          In the case of Loyalist College students performing research as part of their course work, students must obtain approval from their professor and dean before engaging in research involving human subjects.  It is noted that the relevant professor and dean will only review research designated as “minimal risk” as defined in the Tri-Agency policy statement (Page 1.5)  Projects rated higher than “minimal” risk will be reviewed by the college’s Research Ethics Board.

6.    Conflict of Interest

Researchers must:

6.1          Comply with Loyalist College’s policy on intellectual property as it relates to the operational and financial terms of research grants and/or contracts awarded to a Loyalist College researcher.

6.2          Reveal in writing, in a timely manner any material financial interest in a company that contracts with Loyalist College to undertake research.  (Material financial interest includes ownership, substantial stock holding, directorship, significant honoraria or consulting fees, but does not include minor stock holding in a large, publicly traded company); and

6.3          Reveal in writing, in a timely manner, to sponsors, Loyalist College and other relevant universities/colleges, journals or funding agencies, any material conflict of interest that might influence their decision on whether the individual should be asked to review manuscripts or applications, or be permitted to undertake work sponsored from outside sources.

7.    Misconduct

7.1          Misconduct in research and scholarship includes, but is not limited to, any deviation from these modes of behavior identified above.  Loyalist College is responsible for investigating allegations of misconduct involving its researchers and scholars. Such allegations may arise from sources within or outside the college.  Whatever their source, motivation or accuracy, allegations of misconduct in research have the potential to cause great harm to the person accused, to the person making the accusation, to the college, and to research and scholarship in general.  They, therefore, require prompt, effective action by Loyalist College.

7.2          Acts of scholarly misconduct may be committed with varying degrees of deliberateness.  The borderline between carelessness, negligence and intentional dishonesty may be very narrow.  The result is objectionable in any case, even if different degrees of discipline are appropriate.

8.    Allegation of Misconduct

Allegations of misconduct in research and scholarship may be made by any person.

Informal Consultation

8.1          Alleged misconduct may be resolvable through informal consultation; Deans of schools are encouraged to establish mechanisms for such informal resolution.  Should a power imbalance exist in the relationship between parties (e.g. between student and professor) which might prevent an information resolution, the accused/complainant has the right to request and receive a formal meeting.

If the complaint is not carried beyond the stage of informal consultation, Loyalist College shall maintain no written records of the names of the parties or particulars of the allegations.

Formal Investigations

8.2          An allegation of a violation of research integrity or misconduct must be made in writing to the Vice-President, Academic.  Deans, Directors, Chairs, and Program Coordinators who become aware of such an allegation, must report the allegation to the Vice-President, Academic within two (2) days.  In the event that the complaint cannot be documented in writing, the Vice-President is not obligated to take further steps. In the event that the Vice-President, Academic is in any way related to the research activity, i.e. part of the research team, the alleged violation will be submitted in writing to the President of the College. The President shall then be responsible for ensuring that the established procedures are followed, making the necessary variations to the process. 

8.3          In the event of an anonymous allegation, the complaint will not normally be considered; however, in the event that the Vice President, Academic determines that compelling evidence has been received, he/she has the right to proceed with the investigation. 

8.4          The Vice-President, Academic, may delegate any function specified in these procedures, but is ultimately responsible for ensuring that the established procedure is followed. 

8.5          The College President and the Vice-President, Academic have the authority to:

a)  Stop the research project;

b)  Close down the research labs;

c)  Protect the College and the funds allocated for the research;

d) Acquire relevant documentation and files related to the research; and

e) Request members of the research project to meet before a committee to answer specific questions or supply materials as required.


8.6          The Vice-President, Academic shall initiate within three (3) days an inquiry into an allegation of misconduct related to a research project.  The Vice-President, Academic will inform respondents of the allegations and the process to be followed.  The inquiry will require the gathering of information to determine whether the matter warrants further investigation.  The process should be completed within thirty (30) days.     

8.7          The Vice-President, Academic, shall, if there is any validity to the allegation, appoint a Committee to conduct a formal inquiry.  The Committee shall be comprised of three (3) people who have an expertise conducive to the complaint and availability.  All appointees are required to declare they have no conflict of interest with respect to the allegation or with the person/s of whom the complaint is against. 

8.8          The Vice-President, Academic shall notify the respondent and any person who is identified in the complaint, of the composition of the Committee who has been appointed to conduct the inquiry within two (2) days of the Committee being struck.

8.9          The respondent or any person who is identified in the complaint who objects to the composition of the Committee will notify the Vice-President, Academic, in writing within three (3) days of being notified of the Committee membership.

8.10       The Vice-President, Academic shall notify the respondent in detail of the evidence that has been received and is being considered by the Committee.  The respondent shall be invited to respond to the Committee in person or in writing regarding the evidence that the Committee is considering.

8.11       Should there be any person not already identified in the complaint in writing, that the Committee wishes to contact, the Committee shall advise the person that it may be necessary in the interest in fair, equitable, justice to reveal that person’s identify to the respondent.

8.12       The Committee shall have the authority to interview those individuals directly or indirectly related to the allegation.  The Committee shall as far as possible, respect the privacy of the complainant and respondent(s). 

8.13       Within ten (10) days of the Committee proceedings, the inquiry shall be completed.  The Committee shall determine if the complaint requires further investigation or they may make recommendations as to how the problem may be resolved.  The decision shall be reported to the College President and Vice President, Academic.  The Vice President, Academic shall also be provided with the information used to reach the decision and the rationale for the decision. 

8.14       The Vice-President, Academic shall advise the respondent and any person identified in the complaint, in writing of the Committee decision within one (1) day if the complaint has been dismissed. It will outline, in sufficient detail, the reasons for determining why or why not further action was, or was not, necessary.  In conducting the inquiry, the Vice President, Academic has the right to secure individuals with expertise to carry out a thorough and authoritative evaluation of the evidence presented. 

9.    Investigations

9.1           When a Committee recommends that the complaint warrants further investigation, the Vice-President, Academic shall advise the respondent and any person identified in the complaint that the College will proceed with a formal investigation. 

9.2          The Vice-President, Academic shall appoint within ten (10) days a Committee to conduct an investigation.  The Vice-President, Academic will inform respondents of the allegations and the process to be followed. The process should be completed within thirty (30) days.     

9.3          The Vice-President, Academic shall notify the respondent and any person who is identified in the complaint, of the composition of the Committee who has been appointed to conduct the investigation within two (2) days of the Committee being struck.

9.4          The respondent or any person who is identified in the complaint who objects to the composition of the Committee will notify the Vice-President, Academic, in writing within three (3) days of being notified of the Committee membership.

9.5          The Committee to conduct the investigation shall consist of three people, with requisite expertise, none of whom sat on the Investigation Committee, and one of whom shall be external to Loyalist College.  The Committee shall appoint one of its members to act as Chair of the Committee. 

9.6          The Chair of the Committee has the right to request to secure the expertise of an impartial expert, to ensure the investigation is rigorous. 

9.7          The Chair may request to have access to any College documents and question any member of the college community connected to the allegations and investigation. 

9.8          The Chair will notify the respondent in sufficient detail of the evidence being examined.  The respondent shall be invited, with an adviser should the respondent so desire, to appear before the Committee in person, or submit a brief in writing.   

9.9          The Committee shall interview the complainant(s) and respondent(s).  In addition, individuals who have information bearing on the allegations may be interviewed.  Transcripts or summaries of such interviews will be provided to an interviewed party for comment and revision.  This documentation will be included in the file of the investigation.   

9.10       A copy of the written report will be provided to the person(s) against whom the allegation was brought, and that person shall be given the opportunity to respond to the report.  The response will become part of the documentation on the allegations.   The respondent(s) will be given the opportunity to respond to the allegations in either written format or in-person. 

9.11       The Committee, through majority voting, will make a decision on the allegation that a violation of research integrity has occurred.  The decision will be recorded in written format. 

9.12       The Chair will provide a written report to the Vice-President, Academic.  The report shall provide in detail the allegation(s), the investigative process, including a listing of the individuals or groups with whom the Committee communicated with in-person or in written format, and the recommendations.  In the instance where there is no clear consensus, the report of the Committee will record dissenting views.  The report will remain on file for three years.  The file may be examined upon request to the Vice-President, Academic.   

9.13       The Vice-President, Academic shall upon receipt of the report notify the respondent and any person identified within the report of the Committee decision.  Generally, one of two decisions will be communicated: 

9.13.a   Advise the respondent and any person identified within the complaint that the complaint has been dismissed

9.13.b   Advise the respondent and any person identified within the complaint that the Committee has determined that the complaint has been found to be considered misconduct and that it will be referred for further investigation

9.14       The Vice-President, Academic will recommend further action if the allegation or misconduct is substantiated.  If such action includes any disciplinary action against a staff member, it shall be in accordance with standard College practices.  

9.15       If the Committee rules in favour of the complainant, the respondent may file an appeal to the College President.  The President’s role is confined to ensuring that the policy was followed and due process ensured.  In the event that the President determines that due process was not followed, the President will refer the matter back to the Committee with instructions related to the lack of due process. 

9.16       In the event that the Committee determines there was no violation of the Research Integrity policy, the College will take steps to restore the reputation of those charged with a violation and ensure that all documentation associated with the allocation is destroyed.  If the Committee determines that the allegation by the complainant was vindictive, the College will take steps to discipline the complainant in accordance with standard College practices.  The Vice-President, Academic will prepare a report addressing any case of inappropriate charges of research misconduct. 

9.17       The College will ensure, in so far as possible, that accusers are protected from retaliation, and respondents from frivolous or malicious allegations.  Allegations of misconduct in research should be directed, in writing, to the Chair of the Research Ethics Board.  It is a violation of professional responsibility to participate in, encourage or condone misconduct in research, or to make unfounded allegations of misconduct. 

9.18       The privacy of persons reporting apparent misconduct will be protected to the fullest extent possible, as will the positions and reputations of individuals who, in good faith, make allegations of misconduct, and of those individuals against whom allegations of misconduct are not confirmed. 

10.  Appeals

10.1       A respondent has the right to appeal the decision as per College policies and collective agreement rights.

10.2       For respondents who are not protected by College policies or collective agreement rights, the President will strike a Committee to hear the appeal.  

10.3       Notification of Funding Agencies. 

10.4       When the Inquiry Committee makes recommendations to the Vice-President, Academic that an investigation is warranted, the Vice-President, Academic will inform the funding agency(ies) of the research and scholarship in question of the complaint being investigated. 

If the decision of the Committee is upheld by the President, the College must inform the granting funding agency(ies) within thirty (30) days of the Committee finding and indicate the course of action the College plans to take in terms of sanctions.