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Research Standards

Ethical Research Standards at the University of Texas at Austin

The following standards of ethical research were unanimously endorsed by the Faculty Council, January 25, 2010.

I. Preamble

Because integrity is the foundation of research excellence, faculty, staff, students, and administrators at the University of Texas at Austin are expected to adhere to the highest ethical standards during every phase of the research process and in every research role, including researcher, reviewer, editor, evaluator, supervisor, collaborator, and research assistant. The following standards serve as an ethical research core and underscore a fundamental principle: research excellence at the University of Texas at Austin can only be achieved when the foundation is built on integrity and transparency.

II. Acknowledge source of text, images and ideas.

Using the wording, images, or ideas of others without crediting the source of the material is plagiarism, a violation of ethical research conduct. Plagiarism, according to the University of Texas at Austin, “occurs if you represent as your own work any material that was obtained from another source, regardless of how or where you acquired it.”

III. Avoid conflicts of interest in the design, execution, and reporting of research.

If any aspect of the research process is compromised or if financial, professional, or personal interests may bias the outcome of the research, a conflict of interest exists. Ensure the integrity of the research process and the validity of the research results by being alert to potential or perceived conflicts of interest.

IV. Respect human research participants and their rights.

Ethical research stipulates that human participation is voluntary, confidentiality is safeguarded, human participants are not harmed, and consent is informed.

V. Gather, analyze, and report data honestly.

Manufacturing, falsifying, concealing, and skewing data to generate research or produce specific outcomes is unethical. Every aspect of data collection, analysis, and reporting must be handled with the utmost integrity. Data should be made available to the researcher’s community per community standards.

VI. Assign author credit according to author’s contributions.

An author’s contribution to a study should dictate authorship; the order in which authors are listed should reflect discipline practices and have meaning in terms of author agreements and responsibilities during the research process.

VII. Submit original—not previously published—research for publication and adhere to discipline’s rules on simultaneous submissions.

It is unethical to represent previously published studies as original. Acknowledge previous research that a publication is based on and follow discipline practices regarding simultaneous submissions.

VIII. Teach, supervise, and mentor the research process with integrity and transparency.

As supervisors and mentors, faculty are responsible for ensuring that students and junior faculty design and conduct research with integrity and transparency. As supervisors and mentors, faculty have responsibility for making certain that students and junior faculty follow ethical research standards and university research policies. Furthermore, as supervisors and mentors, faculty must not pressure students or junior faculty for unearned author credit or take advantage of them in any way.

Visit the Dean of Students’ website to read the definition of plagiarism.