Codes and statements

The University of Sydney is a leading, comprehensive teaching and research university with a national and global reputation for excellence in research. Our commitment to compliance with research-related regulation is critical to maintaining that reputation. The University receives a significant level of funding from both Commonwealth and State funding bodies. Funding agreements require that institutions and their researchers understand and commit to comply with their research-related regulatory obligations.

The Australian Code

The University is a signatory to the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research (the Australian Code), developed by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), in partnership with the Australian Research Council (ARC) and Universities Australia.

The purpose of the Australian Code is to guide institutions and researchers in responsible research practices, in particular it:

  • promotes integrity in research
  • explains community expectations
  • assists researchers, administrators and the community with how to manage departures from best research practice.

The National Code is written specifically for universities and other public sector research institutions. However, all organisations involved in research will be encouraged to incorporate it as far as possible in their operating environments. The National Code is also a reference for people outside the research community who require information on the standards expected in responsible conduct of research within Australia.

The University Research Code

Research at the University is also governed by the University of Sydney Research Code of Conduct 2013 (the University Code). The Code establishes a framework of responsible research practice and conduct and it applies to all researchers who are defined as ‘staff members and students carrying out research under the imprimatur of the University’.

The National Statement

The National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research (National Statement) sets out the ethical obligations that you must follow when designing and conducting human research. It is important that you understand and comply with these responsibilities as part of your personal commitment to research integrity.

Research Involving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples

The following guidelines Values and Ethics: Guidelines for Ethical Conduct in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Research (NHMRC 2003) are consistent with the National Statement and should be referenced when necessary to clarify researchers’ ethical obligations when conducting research with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.
Please refer to the human ethics website for further information.

Legislation relevant to Animal Ethics

There are laws which govern the use of animals in research, teaching and product testing in each Australian state.
Although there is some variation in the statutory requirements of each state, the NHMRC Guidelines - Australian Code for the Care and Use of Animals for Scientific Purposes 8th edition (2013) sets out the common framework of the guiding principles.
Please refer to the animal ethics website for further information.

Why you need to know about the codes and statements

Over the past two years, the NHMRC has become more proactive in applying penalties not only for cases of research misconduct, but also for general breaches of the Code. These penalties have included revoked grant funding, temporary bans on applying for grants, and temporary bans on sitting on review panels. More than ever before, you need to be aware of your obligations so you can maintain the integrity of your research activities.

Learn more about the Codes

You can follow the links above to read about the Code, the University Code, or the National Statement. The Research Integrity unit is also developing a series of online training modules that are designed to teach you about the most important messages and themes in the Codes.