Who is this for?
- All researchers
The University of Toronto is dedicated to promoting excellence in research and scholarship. At the core of excellence in research is adhering to the highest standards of research integrity. Research integrity refers to how researchers conduct and communicate their research (e.g. Honesty and Rigour) and how researchers conduct themselves (e.g. Professionalism, such as ensuring authorship only for those who should be authors). Research integrity is expected in all steps in the research process from deciding on the topic or focus of the research to disseminating what was learned. Research integrity refers to adhering to the highest standards, and goes beyond merely avoiding misconduct.
Researchers are expected to adhere to the University’s Governing Council Policies and Statements, which include, but are not limited to:
- Policy on Ethical Conduct in Research
- Policy on Research Involving Human Subjects
- Statement on Conflict of Interest and Conflict of Commitment
- Policy on Conflict of Interest – Academic Staff
- Policy on Conflict of Interest – Librarians
- Publication Policy
- Research Administration Policy
- Statement on Research Partnerships
- Statement on Human Rights
- Code of Behaviour on Academic Matters
- Framework to Address Allegations of Research Misconduct
In addition to its own Policies and Statements, The University of Toronto supports and is bound by the Tri-Agency Framework: Responsible Conduct of Research including promoting research integrity. All researchers who apply for, or accept, Tri-Agency funds are bound by the Tri-Agencies Policies and Frameworks, including the Framework on the Responsible Conduct of Research. The University also supports the Singapore Statement on Research Integrity formulated by the World Conference on Research Integrity in 2010, recognizing that some of its principles may be more relevant to some disciplines than others.
Principles of Research Integrity:
The University expects its researchers to maintain research integrity by upholding the generally accepted standards of their disciplines and following all applicable policies, laws and regulations and sponsor requirements. Below are some generally recognized principles of research integrity:
- Honesty (e.g. upholding intellectual and scholarly truthfulness including the accurate and honest handling and stewardship of information, knowledge or data, truthful reporting of research data, interpretations, findings, conclusions and not ignoring relevant contradictory evidence; acknowledging the work and contributions of others and not taking unearned credit; ensuring that only those who meet the generally accepted criteria for authorship are named as authors of scholarly publications; not taking someone else’s work or ideas as their own)
- Rigour (e.g. ensuring soundness and appropriateness in each step of the research process; ensuring confidence and trustworthiness in each step of the research process)
- Professionalism (e.g., being knowledgeable about research integrity and keeping this knowledge current; supporting a climate of research integrity; being a role model to others about research integrity; seeking help from others who are more knowledgeable about particular aspects of the research or research process)
- Transparency (e.g. maintaining all research records in accordance with the standards of the discipline; making clear to others what was done and interpretive choices; ensuring any funding sources are declared; disclosing all conflicts of interest to those who are required to know)
- Responsible use of Funding (e.g., using research funds and resources in a manner consistent with why they were awarded or provided; following University policies on research administration and financial management)
- Responsible Stewardship of Research Data and Sources (e.g., ensuring data and sources are documented, accessible to those who need them and are stored and preserved appropriately; adherence to data management plans)
- Care and Accountability (e.g. caring and respecting participants of research; caring for cultural artifacts and Indigenous knowledges; complying with all directives from the University’s Research Ethics Board, Animal Care Committee, or Environmental Health and Safety office; knowing one’s own limitations as a researcher; taking public responsibility for the work; following best practices in equity, diversity and inclusion in conducting and reporting research)
Research integrity creates an environment of trust. By following these Principles, University of Toronto researchers will help all stakeholders in the research process (e.g., research participants, collaborators, funders, publishers, other researchers and the wider public) trust that the highest research integrity standards were followed.
All researchers are expected to familiarize themselves with research integrity principles, including those that may be specific to their disciplines. We encourage all Divisions to have opportunities for researchers to discuss research integrity, including discipline-specific standards, and to discuss challenges researchers face in meeting these standards.
The University offers a number of undergraduate and graduate courses that educate our learners about research integrity.
Below are several free Canadian courses/programs researchers may find helpful:
- Panel on Research Ethics: Tri-Agency Policy Statement: Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans – CORE (Course on Research Ethics). This is an online tutorial that provides ethics guidance for those conducting research involving human participants
- Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI) Canada Education Program. The University of Toronto, through its membership in Network of Networks (N2), is able to offer this N2 online training program free for anyone with a University of Toronto e-mail address. This training takes the U.S. CITI program and adds and modifies it for the educational needs of those in Canadian research environments. This Program includes a number of courses including those focussed on the on responsible conduct of research, privacy and security, and human participant research
- MyGradSkills.ca: Includes a module on Academic and Research Integrity accessible to anyone with a University of Toronto e-mail address
- The University’s Centre for Research and Innovation Support (CRIS) offers online research ethics sessions
- The University’s Libraries offers online sessions on topics such as avoiding plagiarism and data management
Please also see Other Resources below.
- Answer any questions related to the ethical conduct of research
- Consult with researchers who have questions regarding any aspects of research integrity
- Guide researchers towards resources for the promotion of research integrity and the responsible conduct of research