Ethical Conduct of Research

Our Commitment

U of T is committed to the highest standards of ethical conduct in research. The University of Toronto’s Policy on Ethical Conduct in Research sets “the highest standards of ethical conduct in every aspect of research including applications, proposals, the research itself, reports and publications” as an expectation of all members of the University.

More information: Policy on Ethical Conduct in Research

Research Misconduct

The University of Toronto Framework to Address Allegations of Research Misconduct sets out the process under which the University responds to allegations of research misconduct.

The Framework defines research misconduct as “any research practice that deviates seriously from the commonly accepted ethics/integrity standards or practices of the relevant research community and includes but is not limited to intentional fabrication, falsification, and plagiarism as defined by the University’s Code of Behaviour on Academic Matters. However, in the latter respect, due latitude is given for honest errors, honest differences in methodology, interpretation or judgement, or divergent paradigms in science; what is at issue are genuine breaches of the integrity of the research process.”

The Framework provides a number of illustrative examples of research misconduct. Individual faculties and divisions may modify the examples of research misconduct to fit their particular research circumstances and the norms of their disciplines. If other enhancement is viewed as necessary by a faculty or division, it must be discussed with and approved by the Vice-President, Research and Innovation.

The Framework identifies a two-stage process: an initial gathering and review of information at an inquiry stage and, if warranted, a subsequent investigation. The Vice-President, Research and Innovation is the central point of contact for all allegations of research misconduct.

The Framework applies to all of the University’s full-time and part-time faculty, staff and students (excluding undergraduate students doing research for credit, whose obligations are covered under the Code of Behaviour on Academic Matters) and any person (including but not limited to clinical faculty, visiting professors, and post-doctoral fellows) who conducts research at or under the auspices of the University.

If a complaint is made against a person who has an appointment at, or conducts research in, a fully affiliated or community affiliated teaching hospital, institutional jurisdiction over the complaint will be determined in accordance with the Faculty of Medicine Research Misconduct Framework Addendum: Procedures for Determining Jurisdiction in Complaints Involving Certain Non-University Institutions.

Download the University of Toronto Framework to Address Allegations of Research Misconduct

To make a submission, please email research.integrity@utoronto.ca

Financial Conflict of Interest Procedures for Certain US-Funded Research

The US Public Health Service (PHS), as well as some other US sponsoring agencies, require all awardee universities and researchers, including those outside the US, to comply with the requirements of the US federal PHS Regulations on financial conflicts of interest (FCOIs) (“Responsibility of Applicants for Promoting Objectivity in Research” and “Responsible Prospective Contractors”) as a condition of the award.

The Regulations require that participating researchers be trained in the Regulations and disclose to U of T their significant financial interests. U of T is required to: review disclosed significant financial interests to determine whether they constitute FCOIs; manage any FCOIs and report them to the sponsoring agency; monitor and enforce researcher compliance with the Regulations; and maintain records and make certain information publicly accessible.

The Regulations also explicitly require that the awardee have a written enforced policy on FCOIs for PHS-funded research that complies with the Regulations. U of T has accordingly developed PHS FCOI Procedures (in two parts, one for Investigators and one for the Institution (U of T)) under U of T’s Policy on Ethical Conduct in Research.

The Procedures apply only to those researchers who apply for or choose to participate in research funded by US PHS sponsoring agencies (or other agencies adopting the Regulations), and only to their research activities that are funded by these agencies.

Policies and Procedures

All research at U of T is conducted with the support of a number of policies, guidelines and procedures. These documents are openly available for reference.

More information: See Policies, Guidelines and Procedures

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