Research integrity – Your responsibilities

Be the best researcher you can be by understanding your responsibilities, developing skills, engaging with the academic community and growing networks.

As an RMIT HDR candidate, you should understand your rights and responsibilities regarding research integrity, ethics, intellectual property, copyright and authorship. 

Your research should be guided by principles of integrity, including honesty and accuracy, respect and fairness, rigor and objectivity, accountability and good stewardship. 

You will need to apply for ethics approval if your research involves humans, animals or gene modification. 

You will also need to be aware of copyright and privacy issues that may apply to your research from the earliest stages of your candidature. In addition, you should familiarise yourself with RMIT's Intellectual Property Policy, so you understand and acknowledge who owns the documents, products, reports or other work produced during your research project. 

Research integrity 

Your research should be guided by principles of integrity: including honesty and accuracy, respect and fairness, rigor and objectivity, accountability and good stewardship. Research integrity can be defined as the coherent and consistent adherence to a set of principles that underpin the trustworthiness and excellence of research. 

Online research integrity training is compulsory for all Higher Degree by Research (HDR) candidates. 

The Researcher Portal contains further information about research conduct and understanding the impact of your research. 

If you have any questions or concerns about the conduct of research at the University (or elsewhere), speak to a Research Integrity Advisor.

For information about the use of AI in research practice, please visit the RePAIR site. This site is open to all researchers including HDR candidates and provised a hub for information and discussion about using AI responsibly in research.

College of Business and Law

Area Research Integrity Advisors

School of Accounting, Information Systems and Supply Chain (AISSC)

Professor Alemayehu Molla
School of Economics, Finance and Marketing (EFM)

Professor Jonathan Batten

Associate Professor Ankita Mishra

Dr Thao Tran

School of Management (SoM)

Dr Michael Muchiri

Graduate School of Business and Law (GSBL) Professor Marta Poblet Balcell

College of STEM

Area Research Integrity Advisors
School of Computing Technologies Dr Dana McKay

School of Engineering

Associate Professor Stefania Castelletto
School of Engineering Professor Naba Dutta
School of Engineering Professor Dinesh Kumar
School of Engineering Distinguished Professor Arnan Mitchell
School of Engineering Professor Majidreza Nazem   
School of Engineering Professor Olga Troynikov
School of Engineering Distinguished Professor Irene Yarovsky   
School of Science Professor Andrew Greentree
School of Science Associate Professor Melih Ozlen
School of Health and Biomedical Sciences  Professor Emilio Badoer   
School of Health and Biomedical Sciences  Associate Professor Russell Conduit
School of Health and Biomedical Sciences  Dr Azharuddin Fazalbhoy
School of Health and Biomedical Sciences  Dr Julie Stevens
School of Health and Biomedical Sciences   Associate Professor Angela Yang
School of Health and Biomedical Sciences  Associate Professor Tony Zhang

College of Design and Social Context

Area Research Integrity Advisors

School of Art

Associate Professor Marnie Badham
School of Design Associate Professor Jonathan Duckworth
School of Education Dr Rebecca Seah
School of Fashion and Textiles   Dr Sean Ryan   
School of Global, Urban and Social Studies Associate Professor Sarah Foster
School of Media and Communications    Professor Catherine Gomes   

RMIT Vietnam

Area Research Integrity Advisors

School of Business and Management

Dr Pham Nguyen Anh Huy
School of Communication and Design Dr Andrew Stiff
School of Science and Technology Dr Alexandru Fechete
Research Office Dr Bradley McConachie
Research Office Dr Mahi Narayanan

Ethics approval

Ethics approval is an important step in the first 6 months of your candidature. You need ethics approval if your research involves humans, animals or gene modification.

Researchers must consider the ethical risk of their human research in accordance with the National Statement on Ethical Conduct of Human Research (2007) (National Statement 2007, Updated 2018) and RMIT Research Policy. The process at RMIT is outlined by the RMIT Human Research Ethics Procedure.

Talk to your supervisory team as soon as possible after starting your HDR to determine if you need to build ethics approval into your research timeline.

If you do, you must apply and obtain approval by an ethics committee before you can collect data or complete your Confirmation of Candidature.

There’s a helpful guide available in the Researcher Portal and in the Research Ethics Platform (you’ll need to request access).  That document will help you submit an application that should meet the requirements of the RMIT Human Research Ethics Procedures. This is especially important for candidates with time-critical deadlines.

There are two steps in the ethics process:

  • Governance review: governance reviews are usually started within three business days of your ethics approval application
  • Ethical review: ethical review is not started until a governance review has been completed.

Factors that may have an impact on the turnaround times for your ethics approval include: 

  • the completeness and quality of the project application 
  • review category, e.g., negligible versus greater than low risk review 
  • number of project applications currently under active review
  • your response time to provide requested information 
  • potential wait for external documents or letters of permission for related items
  • RMIT shutdown periods (i.e. public holidays, government restrictions).

If appropriate, you must take any relevant online module/s covering human ethics, animal ethics, and institutional biosafety.

Ethics Guidance for Creative Practice Research

What is Creative Practice research?

Creative Practice research is a broad term that refers to research based in and/or led by practice where a specific question is explored through the creative process. According to the RMIT Research Policy, research is defined as an 'original investigation undertaken to gain knowledge, understanding or insight'. 

The new knowledge gained may centre around reflections on theory, the nature or means of practice, and the outcomes of practice. The outcomes are highly varied and may include designs, digital media, performances, curated exhibitions, text, sound and artworks, amongst others.

Creative Practice research may be exploratory in nature or may be research into existing practice. It can present new methods and understandings within the field of practice and lead to research outcomes that may be deemed to be ‘non-traditional’. Despite this, the principles of respect, merit and integrity, justice and beneficence outlined in the National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research (National Statement) also apply to any Creative Practice research that involves human participants or their data. This research is reviewed by the relevant CHEAN if it is negligible/low risk or by HREC if it is more than low risk.


What are some key considerations with Creative Practice research?

a) Research method

A Creative Practice research project, as with any other research project, may have one or multiple research methods including Creative Practice, interviews, surveys, and observations. In terms of ethics, each research method is separate and contributes to the overall data collection for the project. The Research Ethics Platform (REP) has descriptions of each research method and the appropriate method/s should be selected for the research component of the Creative Practice research.


b) Participants/contributors/models

Creative Practice research can involve contributors, models, and participants. The difference between these three depends on the data being collected in relation to the research. Participants are people whose opinions, lifestyles, views etc. are relevant to and the focus of the research. These views are collected as data and analysed to assist in answering the research question. As such, participants generally need to complete a Participant Information and Consent Form (PICF) prior to participating in the research. 

Contributors and models are defined as people whose opinions, lifestyles, personal background, history or any other personal trait or opinion are not relevant to the research.

Their contribution may support the research or contribute to it in a professional manner, but it is not the focus of the research. This contribution should be agreed upon via a memorandum of understanding or contract. Contributors and models can also be participants, but their respective roles need to be clearly distinguished and outlined. For Creative Practice research, considerations include:

  • Determine whether people involved in the project are contributors, models or participants.
  • What level of consent and/or agreement is required for each group.
  • What data is being collected and how it will be managed.


c) Data collection and management

Data’ refers to any information that is collected from participants to be analysed and that contributes to answering the research question. This may include survey results, interview responses, creative outputs, and notes. The RMIT Research Data Management Procedure outlines the responsibilities of researchers with respect to research data management in accordance with Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research (2018).

Researchers have a responsibility to retain clear, accurate and complete records of all research including research data and primary materials to a sufficient standard that allows for verification and/or reproduction of research by others.

For Creative Practice research, considerations include:

  • How will data be collected from participants and how will it be stored, particularly with creative outputs?
  • How will informed consent be recorded and retained for the retention period?
  • What data will be collected to ensure that clear, accurate and complete records are retained that will enable research to be verified or replicated?
  • How will data be shared amongst the research team, particularly with audio, visual, or media outputs?


d) Voluntary and informed consent

Voluntary and informed consent flows from the principle of respect for human beings includes respect for their capacity to make their own decisions, such as not to participate.

Participants must be appropriately informed of the research before consenting to participate.

In Creative Practice, consent can be difficult to obtain or impractical, particularly if participants are part of an audience, so consideration needs to be given to how consent will be obtained, if it will be obtained or if a waiver of consent is warranted. Chapter 2.3 of the National Statement provides details about when a waiver of consent can be considered.

Some considerations include:

  • Whether signing and returning a consent form is the most appropriate method of obtaining consent.
  • Protocol for how the researcher will determine capacity to give consent and verify participant inclusion criteria.
  • How participants will be informed of the research and consent will be recorded.
  • How participants can withdraw their consent.


e) Level of risk

Researchers are responsible for assessing the risk level of their proposed research activity and determining if anticipated benefits of the research outweigh the risks associated with it. 

For Creative Practice research, additional considerations may include: 

  • The sensitivity of the research data being collected and the confidentiality of the participants.
  • The potential participants and whether the targeted participants are a vulnerable group as outlined in the National Statement and how this will be determined in a Creative Practice environment.
  • The potential for psychological risk and how this will be determined. 
  • The potential for physical risk depending on what participation in the research involves.
  • Protocols for participants to withdraw their participation from the research. This is particularly important in a Creative Practice environment where the ‘data’ could include contributing to creative outputs. 


Key things to remember when completing the ethics application

  • While the project may be ‘Creative Practice research’, the research method is not necessarily Creative Practice but may be a combination of several research methods.
  • Distinguish between contributors, models and participants within the project. Contributors and models can also be participants, but their roles need to be clearly defined.
  • Identify how participants will be informed of the research and provide consent to participate as well as how they will be able to withdraw their participation.
  • Determine what data is being collected, how it is being collected, and how it will be managed.

Additional resources

Bolt, B. MacNeill, K, McPherson, M, Barrett, E, Sierra, M, Eddie Brown, P, Miller, S et al. 2016. "IDARE Creative arts research approaches to ethics: new ways to address situated practices in action."  QPR PROCEEDINGS OF THE 12TH BIENNIAL QUALITY IN POSTGRADUATE RESEARCH (QPR) CONFERENCE, no. 12 Biennial QpR: 98-105.

Candy, Linda. 2020. The Creative Reflective Practitioner : Research through Making and Practice. London, Routledge.


Further information

Further information can be found in the RMIT Research Policy: Human Research Ethics Procedure and the Research Data Management Procedure.

For further advice on this topic or other human research ethics matters, please email

A Research Governance and Ethics Coordinator will assist you and may connect you to one of the CHEAN or HREC members in your discipline who can offer expert ethics advice.

Data management

You need to be aware of copyright and privacy issues that apply to your research from the earliest stages of your candidature.

Familiarise yourself with RMIT's Intellectual Property Policy. It will help you understand and acknowledge who owns the papers, products, reports or other work produced during your research project. 

Intellectual Property (IP) you create is by default owned by you. However, RMIT may request candidates enter into an intellectual property and/or confidentiality agreement before starting their research project.

You also need to understand the guidelines that apply to authorship of papers and reports you might produce. 

Need help? 

Submit an enquiry to the School of Graduate Research

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Acknowledgement of Country

RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business - Artwork 'Luwaytini' by Mark Cleaver, Palawa.