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In its submission to a federal review of granting council policies on research integrity, CAUT has expressed concern for the absence of requirements that institutions uphold academic freedom and act in a manner consistent with collective agreements.
“We congratulate the granting councils’ effort to update their policies on research misconduct and research integrity as requested by the industry minister in 2008,” said James Turk, executive director of CAUT. “But we are concerned that the draft revisions are silent on academic freedom and on the need for university and college administrations to respect their collective agreements.”
Academic freedom is an essential part of the environment that supports and promotes the responsible conduct of research, CAUT said in its written submission.
CAUT also called for broadening the section on conflict of interest to include potential institutional conflicts, not just those of individual researchers.
“Institutions may experience pressures to attract particular research funding or certain types of research activities,” Turk said. “These may compromise their independence and the public trust. Institutions must ensure the responsible conduct of research is not compromised by real, potential or perceived institutional conflicts of interest.”
Also flagged in CAUT’s submission are a series of proposals for handling allegations of misconduct, initiating investigations and determining how judgments are made.
“For anything that can lead to discipline, it is vital that the entire process be consistent with the collective agreement to ensure fairness for the accused and for those bringing forward the allegations,” Turk said.
The consultation document would consolidate and update existing granting council policies, namely the Tri-Council Policy Statement: Integrity in Research and Scholarship (TCPS-I) (1994) and the Framework for Tri-Council Review of Institutional Policies Dealing with Integrity in Research (1996).