Integrity in Research & Scholarship Policy


Policy Statement

Revised Policy approved by the Board of Governors November 28, 2007

It is the policy of Seneca College to ensure that all scholarly and research activities associated with the College adhere to accepted ethical, legal and integrity standards.

All individuals conducting research associated with Seneca College are responsible for upholding the following principles as stated in the Tri-Council Policy statement (August 8, 2004):

  1. recognizing the substantive contributions of collaborators and students; using unpublished work of other researchers and scholars only with permission and with due acknowledgement; and using archival material in accordance with the rules of the archival source;
  2. obtaining the permission of the author before using new information, concepts or data originally obtained through access to confidential manuscripts or applications for funds for research or training that may have been seen as a result of processes such as peer review;
  3. using scholarly and scientific rigour and integrity in obtaining, recording and analyzing data, and in reporting and publishing results;
  4. ensuring that authorship of published work includes all those who have materially contributed to, and share responsibility for, the contents of the publication, and only those people; and
  5. revealing to sponsors, universities, colleges, funding agencies, any material conflict of interest, financial or other, that might influence their decisions on whether the individual should be asked to review manuscripts or applications, test products or be permitted to undertake work sponsored from outside sources.

Definition of Misconduct in Research and Scholarship

Misconduct of scholarly research includes but is not limited to the following examples:

  1. Failure to acknowledge or recognize the substantive contributions of collaborators, students and research assistants and including anyone who has not contributed substantively to the work;
  2. Abuse of supervisory power in working with students, research assistants or staff associated with the research or scholarly work;
  3. Using the unpublished work of other researchers and scholars without their written permission and appropriate acknowledgement;
  4. Plagiarism, appropriation of theft of ideas of someone else's work and intellectual property
  5. Using archival material in violation of the Copyright Act;
  6. Failure to obtain the permission of the author before using new information, concepts or data originally obtained through access to confidential manuscripts or applications for funds for research or training that may have been seen as a result of processes such as peer review;
  7. Fabrication, falsification or misrepresentation of research data and findings in any publication or presentation of the work;
  8. Failure to declare any potential material conflict of interest to sponsors or to those who commission the research;
  9. Misuse of funds acquired for the support of the research; misrepresentation of financial records related to funds received and spent;
  10. Failure to comply with relevant provincial or federal regulations for the protection of human participants, or failure to comply with the policies and procedures of the relevant agency concerning the conduct of research;
  11. If in the future the College should engage in research involving biohazards, NSERC will be notified immediately and all individuals involved must comply with the Public Health Agency of Canada's Laboratory Biosafety Guidelines.

Administrative Guidelines

The primary responsibility for ensuring the integrity of scholarly and research work rests with the individuals involved in these activities. Seneca faculty and staff and all other persons conducting research associated with the College are responsible for the integrity of their work and upholding the principles and responsibilities as stated in the Tri-Council Policy Statement: Integrity in Research and Scholarship. The College will provide and/or promote professional development opportunities (e.g., workshops, seminars and written materials) specifically related to integrity in scholarly and research work for Seneca faculty and staff.

The College realizes that research is conducted and data are acquired in different manners. In the case of collaborative work, all members of the research team are responsible for ensuring proper acknowledgement of each member when the data are presented in any form.

A complete set of all original research data must be retained by the principal investigator for a period of 5 years from the date of the release of the findings based on the data. All collaborators must have free access to the relevant data at all times, and authorization to copy may not be withheld by any team member without valid reason(s) communicated in writing to the Associate Vice President Research & Innovation.

Authorship and Ensuring Accuracy of Data Reported

Only individuals who have made a significant intellectual and practical contribution to the work can be recognized as authors in any dissemination of scholarly reports.

In order to ensure the dissemination of accurate scholarly reports, each collaborator/author of the report is responsible for verifying the accuracy of the part(s) of the report to which they have contributed, and one author must be designated as responsible for ensuring the validity of the entire manuscript/presentation.

Students will be given the appropriate recognition for authorship or collection of data in any dissemination of the work.


Revised Procedures approved by the Senior Executive October 31, 2007

“Allegations of misconduct may arise from anonymous or identified sources within or outside the research institution; the allegations may be well founded, honestly erroneous or mischievous. Whatever their source, motivation or accuracy, such allegations have the potential to cause great harm to the persons accused, the accuser, to the institution, and to research and scholarship in general."

-Tri-Council Policy: Integrity in Research and Scholarship

Allegations of failure to demonstrate integrity in research and scholarly work will be investigated by the Associate Vice President Research & Innovation in consultation with an Academic Integrity Investigation Committee (AIIC).

Complaints or allegations received by any other College employee are to be submitted to the Associate Vice-President Research & Innovation. Allegations of policy infraction must be made in writing to the Associate Vice President, Research & Innovation. Anonymous allegations will not normally be considered; however if compelling evidence is received anonymously by the Director or VP, the investigation process may be initiated.

The Associate Vice President will establish an ad hoc Academic Integrity Investigation Committee within 3 - 5 days of receipt of the complaint consisting of at least 3 members whose membership is determined by the nature of the allegations, none of whom are members of the Research Ethics Board or any persons directly affiliated with the same department. Where appropriate, the Investigation Committee will include a person with expertise in the area relevant to the complaint.

The complaint may be dealt with in several ways, depending on the severity of the alleged policy infraction and the strength of the supporting data presented. The complaint may be: dismissed if there is no compelling supporting data; resolved informally by the Associate Vice President Research & Innovation and the Academic Integrity Investigation Committee or submitted to the Seneca College Resolution, Equity and Diversity Centre to determine if there are sufficient grounds for a formal investigation of the allegations of policy infraction as outlined below. The individual alleged to have failed to comply with this policy will be notified by the Associate Vice President Research & Innovation of the investigation within 3 days of the receipt of the complaint, and the investigation will normally be completed within 3 weeks of receipt of the complaint.

The staff of the Resolution, Equity and Diversity Centre will conduct the review consistent with their established policies and procedures which include informing all parties involved of the decisions reached and an opportunity for either the complainant or the respondent to appeal the decisions.

Where there is perceived to be an infraction of this policy, the Associate Vice President Research & Innovation in collaboration with the Academic Integrity Investigation Committee will:

  1. conduct and document appropriate enquiries within two weeks of receipt of a complaint;
  2. protect the privacy of the person(s) alleged to be guilty of misconduct and of the person(s) making the allegations as far as is possible, given the need for due process in pursuing the inquiry;
  3. allow the person(s) alleged to be guilty of misconduct and the complainant(s) full opportunity to respond/comment on the allegations throughout the inquiry through mechanisms consistent with due process;
  4. if appropriate, submit all documentation to the Seneca College Resolution, Equity and Diversity Centre (REDC) for a formal investigation of the allegations, consistent with their normal investigative processes. Records of interviews with individuals involved will be maintained in a secure file in the REDC;
  5. decide whether or not there has been infraction of the policy based on the data gathered;
  6. determine the actions to be taken as a result of conclusions reached, including:
    • any sanctions imposed
    • any actions taken to protect or restore the reputation(s) or credibility of any person(s) wrongly alleged to be guilty of, or implicated in, misconduct in research, including procedures to ensure that if the charges have been dismissed, copies of documents and related files provided to third parties have been destroyed; and
    • any actions taken to protect the person(s) deemed to have made a responsible allegation
  7. inform the person(s) alleged to be guilty of misconduct and the complainant(s) in writing of the results of the inquiry normally within 3 weeks of receiving the initial complaint, and of the actions that have been decided upon;
  8. In the event that either the respondent or the complainant is not satisfied with the decision regarding misconduct, either the respondent or the complainant has the right to appeal the committee's decision in accordance with the Collective Agreement and any relevant appeals processes of the College. An appeal must be requested within 5 working days from the time the report was released.

    Decisions regarding the appeal will be made by the Vice President Academic or designate and are considered final and binding on the institution except where provisions of the Collective Agreement prevail. There is no right of further appeal.

  9. prepare a report on the above, to be filed within 30 days with the Associate Vice President, Research & Innovation. The report will be kept in a secured file for five years, accessible only to the AVP Research & Innovation, Senior College staff, the complainant and the person(s) alleged to be guilty of misconduct.
  10. the report of the investigating committee shall include the specific allegations, the names of the committee members, why they were selected, methods used in investigation, persons interviewed or that provided information in the matter being investigated, details of any sanctions imposed, the proposed plan to restore reputations and protect complainants that have acted in good faith, and any other relevant details.
  11. If the research is supported by funds from external sources, (e.g., Tri-Council granting agencies), the report must also be filed with the sponsor within 30 days. If misconduct is confirmed, funds for the research project will not be accessible to the person(s) found guilty of misconduct until the matter is resolved.

The sanctions imposed by the Assoc. V.P. Research & Innovation in collaboration with the Academic Integrity Investigation Committee will be consistent with sanctions imposed in other college policies (such as the Acceptable Use, Copyright Policies and the Collective Agreement) and all decisions will be binding on the College, such as:

  1. verbal warning
  2. special monitoring of future work
  3. letter of reprimand to the individual's permanent personnel file
  4. withdrawal of specific privileges
  5. removal of specific responsibilities
  6. suspension or steps to terminate the appointment

In the case of students, sanctions may include verbal warning, special monitoring of work, letter of reprimand in the student's official file, or if warranted, suspension.

Maintained by: Office of Research & Innovation