Learning outcomes

  • Understand and explain how irresponsible research practices are characterised globally
  • Identify the behaviours that constitute breaches of the Code
  • Appreciate the differences between more minor breaches/irresponsible research practices and more serious breaches/research misconduct, as well as how the seriousness of a breach is determined by the Code
  • Discuss the impact of irresponsible practices on research
  • Identify the steps to be taken to report irresponsible research practices.

Using the module

Welcome to Research Integrity! This course is designed for postgraduate, postdoctoral and early career researchers, with a focus on the core responsibilities required throughout the research lifecycle.

If this is the first time you have accessed the Research Integrity course, or if you need a brief reminder, here is some information on how the screens are organised, and some of the tools and features that are used throughout:


  • The centre of each screen contains the core content for each course; this is presented either as text, interactive activities, graphics, videos or animations
  • Text highlighted in a box preceded by an arrow contains instructions on how to navigate the activities that follow
  • Terms highlighted like this are clickable glossary terms, and can be clicked on to access pop-up boxes containing definitions of key terms. To help familiarise you with the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research, principles (e.g. P1) and responsibilities (e.g. R17) from the Code can also be clicked on to access reminders of their definitions
  • Note that your responses to the note-making and text entry activities (where you type responses in the space provided) can be printed and used as part of your ongoing work.

Poll questions

The poll questions, used periodically throughout this course, are designed to help you:

  • Think about your own situation and attitudes
  • Compare your situation and attitudes with those of others taking this course.

If you have any concerns about your situation or find that you have an outlying perspective, you should talk with a supervisor or trusted colleague to get advice.

Application screen

The application screen allows you to apply the learning from the module to a specific scenario.

Pods and icons

Throughout this module, you will see clickable "pods" that contain further information and learning opportunities. The pods in this course contain useful links to further resources and sources of guidance, as well as additional information expanding on the material in the main part of the screen.

"Key points" icons (as above) are used to indicate crucial learning points that are worth remembering.

"Discipline-specific content" icons (as above) are used to indicate where activities include discipline-specific pathways.


At the very end of each module, you have the opportunity to test your learning further with a multiple-choice quiz. This consists of ten questions and can be taken more than once (a new set of questions will appear).

The Research Integrity course is designed to gradually build up your understanding and skills. We recommend that you complete the modules in the order given, but they have been designed so you can access each of them independently according to your own requirements and those of your institution.

Expert panel


Professor Nick Steneck, PhD
– Lead Advisor and Author

Nick Steneck is Professor Emeritus of History at the University of Michigan, and is also a research integrity consultant and the co-founder of the World Conferences on Research Integrity. He has published books and articles on the history of research misconduct policy, the responsible conduct of research, RCR training and research on research integrity.

Dr Susan O'Brien, PhD
– Adapting Author

Susan O'Brien has more than 15 years' experience in senior research management, including as Senior Manager of the Office of Research Integrity and Program Manager for Research Management Business Transformation at The University of Queensland. Susan was Deputy Chair of the NHMRC Better Practice Guides Working Group in association with the review of the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research (2018). She has worked as a researcher in plant biology and in research management in the not-for-profit and university sectors. Susan is currently employed as Research Advisor for the national peak body Exercise and Sports Science Australia.

Authors of additional material

  • Dr Thomas L. Van Valey, Professor Emeritus of Sociology, Western Michigan University
  • Dr Simon Barrett, Deputy Director, Monash Research Office, Monash University


  • Dr Simon Barrett, Deputy Director, Monash Research Office, Monash University
  • Rebecca Halligan, BVM&S MSc MBA, Director of Research Integrity and Ethics Administration, University of Sydney
  • Dr Catherine Gangell, Manager of Research Integrity, Curtin University
  • Catherine Nie, PhD, Research Integrity Officer, The University of Melbourne
  • Rebekah O'Shea, Research Integrity Officer, The University of Adelaide
  • Amy Phillips, Assistant Director of Policy and Integrity, Australian Research Council
  • Dr Courtney McDonald, NHMRC Early Career Research Fellow in Biomedical Science, Hudson Institute of Medical Research

Accessibility advisor

Wilma Alexander

Wilma Alexander

Wilma Alexander is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy with Master's degrees in Human-Computer Interaction, Linguistics and Information Science. She has over 15 years of experience as a manager with the online learning team at the University of Edinburgh, where she specialised in usable and accessible digital practice, tutored on the groundbreaking Master's degree in Digital Education and developed online staff training on accessible e-learning and online tutoring skills. Since retiring from the University at the end of 2015, Wilma has provided consultancy services on all aspects of online learning, with a special focus on accessibility and usability issues.