Research, Policy on Ethical Conduct in [March 28, 1991]

University of Toronto Governing Council

Policy on Ethical Conduct in Research

March 28, 1991

To request an official copy of this policy, contact:

The Office of the Governing Council
Room 106, Simcoe Hall 27 King’s College Circle University of Toronto Toronto, Ontario
M5S 1A1

Phone: 416-978-6576
Fax: 416-978-8182

Policy on Ethical Conduct in Research

  1. The University expects of its members (which include faculty, students and anyone holding a university post or any office that gives university status, such as that of a fellow or a research associate), the highest standards of ethical conduct in every aspect of research including applications, proposals, the research itself, reports and publications. The term "research" is broadly defined and is intended to include both scientific and non-scientific research and research that is not grant-supported.
  2. It is neither possible nor desirable to foresee or to define what constitutes ethical conduct in all circumstances. This policy leaves many such matters untouched: it does not, for example, apply to the question of whether a certain kind or line of research is itself ethical.
  3. The University considers that the highest ethical standards in research would entail (although not exclusively);

    (i)    The accurate presentation and interpretation of experimental data and other factual information;
    (ii)    Due acknowledgement to another’s work;
    (iii)    The maintaining of confidentiality with respect to information supplied by another when requested and appropriate use of that information in a manner authorized by the supplier of the information, and in accordance with scholarly practice;
    (iv)    The appropriate use and allocation of money or other resources supplied for research purposes.
  4. Proper ethical procedures can be encouraged by increasing awareness of ethical issues and by administrative measures such as review of research proposals, progress reports, rules for the preservation of data, and audits. Room for misunderstanding may be reduced by precision in the terms of an award. Since practices and procedures on such matters necessarily vary in different divisions of the University, divisions are encouraged to develop their own guidelines in furtherance of the University policy. Such guidelines must conform to the University’s policies and procedures, and copies must be sent to the Vice-President (Research) and the Provost. The object of such guidelines will be to create an atmosphere that encourages ethical conduct, without interfering with freedom of inquiry, and without causing unnecessary administrative burdens.
  5. Allegations of misconduct will be taken seriously by the University following the established practices and procedures of the University and all inquiries and proceedings will be conducted expeditiously.