Developed by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), the Australian Research Council (ARC) and Universities Australia (UA), the 2018 Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research (the Code) and its Guide to Managing and Investigating Potential Breaches (the Investigation Guide) has broad relevance across all research disciplines.

The Code provides clear, practical, relevant and contemporary guidance that can be applied to a range of different research contexts. It specifies eight principles of responsible research and 29 key responsibilities for researchers and institutions. 

The eight principles of responsible research:

  1. Honesty in the development, undertaking and reporting of research. 
  2. Rigour in the development, undertaking and reporting of research. 
  3. Transparency in declaring interests and reporting research methodology, data and findings. 
  4. Fairness in the treatment of others — treat fellow researchers and others involved in the research fairly and with respect. 
  5. Respect for research participants, the wider community, animals and the environment 
  6. Recognition of the right of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to be engaged in research that affects or is of particular significance to them. 
  7. Accountability for the development, undertaking and reporting of research — comply with relevant legislation, policies and guidelines.
  8. Promotion of responsible research practices. 

The accompanying Investigation Guide assists institutions to manage, investigate and resolve complaints about potential breaches of the Code. The Code is also supported by other supplementary guidance documents that support the implementation of its principles and responsibilities as well as establish a framework for research integrity and quality in Australia.

Download the Code, the Investigation Guide and the supplementary guidance documents

Swinburne’s guides to the Code

The Swinburne Guide to the Responsible Conduct of Research has been designed to be easy to understand and to support you in conducting your research at Swinburne in accordance with the Code with examples of responsible research conduct.

The Swinburne Guide to the Management of Potential Breaches of the Code is our application of the Investigation Guide and applies to anyone who conducts research at Swinburne. Failure to conduct your research in accordance with the 2018 Code is a breach of research integrity and may be investigated. If you have concerns about the conduct of research and would like to make a complaint, please contact our office by emailing or calling +61 3 9214 8356. 

The Authorship Guide released by the NHMRC, ARC and UA provides details on how researchers and institutions can meet the relevant principles of the Code, including:

  • Principle 4 — Fairness in the treatment of others, which requires researchers to give credit, including authorship where appropriate, to those who have contributed to the research.
  • Principle 6 — Recognition of the right of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples to be engaged in research that affects or is of particular significance to them, which requires researchers to credit the contributions of Indigenous people and knowledge.

The guide also assists those involved in research to understand and apply best practice in determining and agreeing on authorship. An author is someone who:

  • has made a significant intellectual or scholarly contribution to research and its output
  • agrees to be listed as an author.

A significant intellectual or scholarly contribution must include one, and should include a combination of two or more, of the following:

  • conception and design of the project or output
  • acquisition of research data where the acquisition has required significant intellectual judgement, planning, design or input
  • contribution of knowledge, where justified, including Indigenous knowledge
  • analysis or interpretation of research data
  • drafting significant parts of the research output or critically revising it so as to contribute to its interpretation.

An Authorship Agreement Coversheet may assist in ensuring that all authors have contributed appropriately and agreed to inclusion.

Publishing is crucial to your career but requires careful planning. You need to ensure you avoid:

  • Plagiarism, which is using someone else’s words or work without giving credit via the appropriate citation.
  • Self-plagiarism or duplication, which is using your own work or words without appropriate acknowledgement of where they were previously published.

The best way to avoid plagiarism is to properly attribute the words or work by using citations and references. Remember the following:

  1. Use your own words, not the words of others.
  2. Avoid cutting and pasting text into word documents.
  3. Be clear about the source of any words or work of others.
  4. If you are using your own work or words that have been previously published, clearly cite the publication.

A tool that you can use to check your manuscripts prior to publication is iThenticate, which compares text in an uploaded document against a database of webpages (both current and archived content) to identify anything that is matching. If there are instances where the submission's content is similar to one or more sources, it will be flagged for review in the ‘similarity report’. Many journal publishers use iThenticate to check manuscript submissions before publication.

Using iThenticate throughout the writing process can help you to:

  • ensure the originality of your work to avoid plagiarism
  • correctly attribute any of your prior work and the work of others
  • improve your writing practices.

Documents submitted to iThenticate are not stored and don’t become searchable in any comparison database. iThenticate also allows research groups to use the tool collectively by letting users share the similarity reports with other users.

How do I access iThenticate?

Swinburne has purchased a site licence as part of our support for research integrity. Swinburne researchers can use iThenticate to check their own writing and writing that they have co-authored. Please email Research Integrity via to request an account. 

How do I use iThenticate?

There is a suite of information about how to use iThenticate on the iThenticate website. There is also the iThenticate Quick Start Guide to download.

Interpreting the similarity report

This report provides an overall similarity breakdown for each submission to the iThenticate database. This breakdown determines the percentage of similarity between a submission and content from its database. The presence of matching text does not necessarily indicate plagiarism as iThenticate may have highlighted direct quotes that are attributed correctly or standard or generic phrases. The similarity score simply makes the user aware of any problem areas. Further guidance on how to interpret the similarity report can be found on the iThenticate website.

Find out more about iThenticate

Advisers in research integrity

Research Integrity Advisers are appointed by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research & Enterprise) and are available to provide advice on the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research and Swinburne's Conduct of Research Policy. Their role includes providing advice about possible breaches or allegations of research misconduct but does not extend to investigating or assessing these allegations.

For guidance on discipline-related details such as data management, safety and ethics clearance applications, please contact the faculty research advisers.

Dr Carolyn Barnes  

Faculty of Health, Arts and Design  
+61 3 9214 6579

Professor Thomas Spurling  

Faculty of Business and Law 
+61 3 9214 5833

Do you have feedback or concerns?

If you have any feedback or concerns about a researcher not conducting research responsibly or in accordance with the Australian Code or the Swinburne Research Conduct Guidelines, please contact our Research Integrity Coordinator:

+61 3 9214 8356

Swinburne Research (H68) 
Swinburne University of Technology 
PO Box 218 
Hawthorn VIC 3122

Explore our other ethics and integrity topics

Contact us for more information

If you would like to know more about our research integrity and ethics processes, please email

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