A 15-page draft policy on responsible conduct of research at UNB was sent to Deans on October 29, with a request to forward the draft to academic staff in their Faculties for feedback.
It appears that colleagues in some Faculties did not receive a copy of this document. Others received it in early November, along with a note from ORS expressing hope that the consultation phase would be complete by the end of this semester, “so that the document can be returned to the VPR Committee to address any necessary feedback in time to submit the Policy to Senate early in the new year.” The accompanying note stated that faculty are to provide feedback by Tuesday, November 26 (end of day).
The draft policy describes numerous categories of misconduct and sets out formal investigation procedures that may intersect with the AUNBT collective agreements (e.g., Article 52 “Fraud and Misconduct in Research” of the full-time collective agreement) as well as with other policies at UNB. It would apply to everyone involved in research, including full-time and contract academic staff, professional and technical staff, administrators, students, postdoctoral fellows, honorary research associates, and others, regardless of whether the research is funded or not.
The stated November 26 deadline for closing the consultation phase is inadequate for a document of such scope and complexity.
AUNBT expressed concerns and in a November 15 meeting with the Vice-President Research we received assurances that additional time shall be provided, and that the consultation process will not be rushed.
AUNBT’s recommendation is that the draft policy be brought for discussion at Faculty Councils before any version of it is sent to UNB Senates.
Having a sound and broadly accepted UNB policy on scholarly integrity, consistent with the Tri-Agency Framework, is in the shared interest of all members of the University community. This requires an open and collegial consultation process.
AUNBT has submitted a review of the draft policy to the Vice-President Research. We take this to be only the beginning of a broader constructive conversation. There is considerable room for improvement of the current draft.