“Research is ethically acceptable only when its potential benefits justify any risks involved in the research”

National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research, 2007, p. 14

The ethical conduct of research is vital for promoting and supporting a culture of accountability and respect, and for minimising risk to animals, humans and the environment. It assures the public that research is conducted in accordance with relevant laws and regulations and encourages researchers to evaluate whether their research design is appropriate, robust and safe.

The National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research (2007) defines human research as that conducted with or about people, their data, or tissue. Research involving human participants must meet the values of respect for human beings, research merit and integrity, justice and beneficence to be ethically justifiable (Section 1, National Statement). Research involving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples must also be conducted in accordance with Values and Ethics: Guidelines for Ethical Conduct in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (2003).

The Australian Code for the Care and Use of Animals for Scientific Purposes (8th Edition, 2013) requires that respect for animals underpins all aspects of the care and use of animals in research. Respect is demonstrated by establishing research merit and integrity, supporting the wellbeing of animals, avoiding or minimising harm and applying principles of the ‘3Rs’ - Replacement, Reduction, Refinement (Section 1.1, Animal Code).

The University’s policy on the responsible conduct of research requires researchers to obtain, and comply with, all required human or animal ethics approvals. Researchers must determine in the design phase of a project the need for approvals and must not begin the project until all approvals are in place.

Please contact the Human or Animal Ethics Units for procedures.

Human research ethics unit

Animal ethics unit

Key resources

4.20.02 Responsible Conduct of Research

Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research

Guidelines for Ethical Research in Australian Indigenous Studies (2003)

National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research (2007)

The Australian Code for the Care and Use of Animals for Scientific Purposes (8th Edition, 2013)

Values and Ethics: Guidelines for Ethical Conduct in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (2003)