Terms and definitions

Taken from (or consistent with) the University’s Responsible Research Conduct Policy.

Academic Freedom

‘… the right, without constriction by prescribed doctrine, to freedom ... in carrying out research and disseminating and publishing the results thereof …’ 


Diligent and systematic enquiry or investigation into a subject to discover facts or principles. 


Student, staff, honorary staff or visitor engaged in research under the auspices of  Massey University 

Questionable Research Practice (Code definition)

Inferior research practices such as bad data management, carelessness in observation and analysis or poorly conceived research procedures. In general, practices such as these would be referred to a senior colleague or a line manager for remediation. 

Breach of Research Conduct (Code definition)

A minor, often unintentional deviation from the principles of responsible research conduct and may include (but not exclusively):

  • Unintentional errors
  • Addition of non-contributing individuals as authors on publications
  • Minor adjustment or selectivity of data, where not appropriate to the discipline
  • Unacknowledged ‘adaptation’ of a figure
  • Redundant publications

Repeated or continuing Breaches of Research Conduct will constitute Research Misconduct, particularly where these have been the subject of previous counselling or specific direction.

Research Misconduct (Code definition)

Research misconduct is wilful deviation from the principles of responsible research conduct and includes:

  • Deliberate fabrication, falsification of research results
  • Destruction of key research records prior to the end of the retention period suggested in the Massey University General Disposal Authority, particularly where the research has been publicly disseminated
  • Deliberate plagiarism
  • Intentional omission of contributors as authors
  • Deception in proposing, carrying out or reporting the results of research
  • Failure to declare or manage a serious conflict of interest
  • Failure to follow research proposals as approved by a research ethics committee, particularly where this failure may result in unreasonable risk or harm to humans, animals or the environment
  • Willful concealment or facilitation of research misconduct by others


Making up data, source material, methodologies or findings, including graphs and images. 


Manipulating, changing or omitting data, source material, methodologies or findings, including graphs and images, without acknowledgement and which results in inaccurate findings or conclusions. 


Presenting and using another’s published or unpublished work, including theories, concepts, data, source material, methodologies or findings, including graphs and images, as one’s own, without appropriate referencing and without permission when permission is required. 

Categories of plagiarism include, but are not limited to:

  • Literal copying: Reproducing word for word, in whole or in part, without permission and acknowledgement of the original source 
  • Substantial copying: Capturing the essence of another’s work, in whole or in part, without permission and acknowledgement of the original source. (This can include copying of research materials, processes, tables or equipment) 
  • Paraphrasing: Reproducing the essential meaning, form and/or progression of someone else’s ideas without permission and without proper acknowledgement of the source 
  • Text-recycling/duplicate submission: Reproducing portions of one’s own work in a paper and submitting it for publication as an entirely new paper, without cross-referencing or acknowledging earlier publication(s) 
  • Un-published plagiarism: Unattributed use of privileged information or materials obtained through confidential peer review of research proposals and manuscripts

Redundant publications

The republication of one’s own previously published work or part thereof, or data, in the same or another language, without adequate acknowledgement of the source or justification. 


To be named as an author of a research output:

  • a person must have made a significant intellectual, creative or scholarly contribution to the research described in the research output
  • be willing to take responsibility for their contribution, and agree to be listed as an author
  • not be named as an author solely on the basis of being the supervisor of the researcher or student undertaking the research, or the leader of the research group, where a creative and significant contribution has not been made to the research
  • not be solely involved in contributing to writing the publication, unless contributing to critically revising the interpretation

Invalid authorship

Inaccurate attribution of authorship including attribution of authorship to persons other than those who have contributed sufficiently to take responsibility for the intellectual content, or agreeing to be listed as author on a publication for which one made little or no material contribution.  

Inadequate acknowledgement

Failure to appropriately recognise contributions of others in a manner consistent with their respective contribution and authorship policies of relevant publications. 

Conflict of interest

Where a researcher has a real, perceived or potential opportunity to prefer their own interest, or those of any other person or organisation, to the interests of the University and their professional responsibilities. This divergence also suggests a level of undue bias or lack of objectivity. Conflicts of interest are often thought of in financial terms, but can take almost any form including familial, scholarly, and professional conflicts.

Situations where a conflict of interest may arise include (but are not limited to):

  • Where the research is sponsored by a related body
  • Where the researcher or a related body may benefit (directly or indirectly) from any inappropriate dissemination of research results (including any delay in, or restriction upon, publication of such results)
  • Where the researcher or a related body may benefit (directly or indirectly) from the use of University resources
  • Where the researcher conducts a clinical trial which is supported by any person or organisation with a significant interest in the results of the trial
  • Where private benefits or significant personal or professional advantage are dependent on research outcomes

Mismanagement of conflict of interest

Failure to appropriately manage any real, potential or perceived conflict of interest, in accordance with the University Conflict of Commitment and Interest Policy 

Mismanagement of research funds

Using research funds such as contract, grant or award funds, for purposes inconsistent with the agreement; misappropriating research, grant or award funds; or providing incomplete, inaccurate or false information on documentation for expenditures from grant or award accounts.