Introducing the New Tri-Agency Framework: Responsible Conduct of Research
Canada's research granting agencies - Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), and Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada SSHRC) - are committed to fostering and maintaining an environment that supports and promotes the responsible conduct of research. On December 5, 2011, the Agencies officially launched the new Tri-Agency Framework: Responsible Conduct of Research. This new Framework sets out the responsibilities and corresponding policies for researchers, institutions, and the Agencies that together help support and promote a positive research environment.
It also replaces the previous integrity policy and related documents, including the Tri-Agency Policy Statement: Integrity in Research and Scholarship (TCPS-I, 1994), the Framework for Tri-Council Review of Institutional Policies Dealing with Integrity in Research (1996) and the Tri-Agency Process for Addressing Allegations of Non-compliance with Tri-Agency Policies (2010).
The Agencies are committed to fostering and maintaining an environment that supports and promotes the responsible conduct of research. The new Framework launched by the Agencies sets out to:
- ensure that funding decisions made by the Agencies are based on accurate and reliable information;
- ensure public funds for research are used responsibly and in accordance with funding agreements;
- promote and protect the quality, accuracy and reliability of research funded by the Agencies; and
- promote fairness in the conduct of research and the process for addressing allegations of policy breaches.
Integrity and accountability in research are essential values of universities, colleges and other academic institutions. These values are also important to Canadians, given the significant investments made by the federal government in research, and the important contributions these activities make to our society.
Although statistics indicate that standards of responsible conduct of research in the Agencies' research communities are very high, and that serious breaches are extremely rare, the research community, those who depend on and use research results, and citizens need to know that research is conducted responsibly. These stakeholders also need to be aware that effective measures are in place to address breaches of Agency policy.
The Agencies have established a new Panel on Responsible Conduct of Research. The mandate of this new panel will be to ensure a coherent and uniform approach to promoting the responsible conduct of research and addressing allegations of breaches of agency policies. The Panel will be responsible for governing and implementing the new Framework, with support from the new Secretariat on Responsible Conduct of Research (formerly the Secretariat on Research Ethics).
For more information on the new Tri-Agency Framework: Responsible Conduct of Research, visit the Panel on Responsible Conduct of Research Web site.
The Agencies appreciate the expertise and guidance provided by their Research Integrity Advisory Group, an external group that provided advice on recommended changes to research integrity policy documents and operational procedures. The Agencies would also like to extend their gratitude to the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC) and those in the research community who provided input into the new Framework during consultations held earlier this year. This input and guidance was instrumental in helping the Agencies implement a new Framework that demonstrates our commitment to the highest standards of excellence and accountability in research.
Finally, a requirement on the part of researchers and applicants to Consent to Disclosure of Personal Information was recently established by the Agencies. This new requirement, subject to applicable laws, including the Privacy Act, will allow the Agencies to make public the names of those individuals confirmed to have engaged in a serious breach of Agency policy. The Agencies have implemented this disclosure process to strengthen the responsible conduct of research in Canada and to increase transparency.