Code of practice for higher degrees by research

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1 Code of practice for higher degrees by research 1. Preamble 1.1 The aim of this Code of Practice is to assure quality in higher degree research training, in particular, the highest possible quality of supervision. 1.2 Effective research supervision is integral to the provision of a quality research training experience for candidates. Supervisors have an important role to play in ensuring candidates make satisfactory progress in completing their degrees in a timely and successful way. 1.3 The Code takes account of relevant policies, and good practice guidelines published by the Council of Deans and Directors of Graduate Studies (DDoGS) and the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC). 1.4 The Code is based on broad consensus in the academic community about what constitutes good supervisory practice eg: Effective supervision is based on the negotiation with candidates of a set of clear expectations that need to be continuously reviewed throughout the research degree program; Candidates must be provided with full and accurate information concerning relevant procedures, regulations, services and support of the University; Effective supervision requires professional, supportive and facilitative relationships between supervisors and candidates; A recognition by both supervisors and candidates that candidates need to develop as independent researchers; Effective supervision requires that candidates be involved in an ethical, professional, collaborative and scholarly research culture. 1.5 The respective responsibilities of those involved in research training and management at all levels are set out in this Code. 2. Responsibilities of RMIT University The University is responsible for establishing a policy framework within which supervisory processes at local levels can be developed and through which quality standards can be maintained and enhanced. Specifically, it will ensure that: 2.1 Requirements and standards for the particular degree are clearly described and communicated; Code of practice for HDR August 2014.docx Page 1 of 9

2 2.2 Academic standards and experience levels of potential candidates are defined at entry at a level to ensure as best as possible candidates have the capacity to succeed; 2.3 Candidates have access to adequate support, facilities and resources 1 for conducting their research program; 2.4 Candidates are fully aware of the intellectual property and commercial considerations arising from their research project and are kept up to date on such matters. 2.5 Reporting lines and requirements are clearly set out and adhered to with no duplication; 2.6 Procedures are in place for the resolution of grievances, Supervisors are listed according to defined criteria and area of expertise on the RMIT supervisor register;, Training and support of academic staff who are undertaking supervision is available; 2.9 Support in developing appropriate skills is available for candidates; 2.10 There are explicit procedures for the examination process, including clear guidelines for examiners and other parties, that describe institutional expectations for the particular degree and any requirements for confidentiality; There are appeals procedures setting out the grounds on which, and the means whereby candidates may appeal against the conduct and outcome of the examination and the classification of their candidature; Quality reviews of research training are carried out on a regular basis and the results of these reviews incorporated into ongoing quality improvements. 6 1 As defined by the Minimum resources policy 2 See the Student Complaints policy 3 See the HDR Supervision policy 4 Procedures for examination are defined in Examination policy, Thesis policy and Project policy 5 A student may appeal on procedural grounds against their examination outcome to the University Appeals Committee. See the Assessment, Academic Progress and Appeals regulations 6 Reviews are carried out annually by the Dean and other senior staff of the SGR Code of practice for HDR August 2014.docx Page 2 of 9

3 3. Responsibilities of schools or academic units It is the responsibility of Schools to ensure that: 3.1 Candidates meet minimum University and any other relevant entry criteria and have the potential to complete their program successfully and on time; 3.2 The proposed research project is of sufficient scope and of an appropriate nature to allow as best as possible the successful and timely completion of the research program; 3.3 Due recognition is given to the research interests and ability of candidates in determining the project; 3.4 The School is an appropriate location for the research, having the necessary time, space, facilities, equipment, technical and resource staff, source material and funding for the program; 3.5 The proposed supervisors are listed on the supervisor register and are sufficiently expert and interested in the area of research to be able to offer the candidate proper supervision; and Senior and Joint senior supervisors are research active; 3.6 The workload of the supervisor, in research, teaching, supervision and any other duties, is such as to allow sufficient time to provide the candidate with appropriate and adequate supervision throughout the period of candidature; 3.7 If the supervisor is to be absent for 6 weeks or more, the Dean/HoS or their nominee is responsible for ensuring that alternative supervisory arrangements are put in place; 3.8 Supervisory responsibility is clearly designated and understood by supervisors and candidates; 3.9 That every School normally has an academic staff member appointed to act as an HDR co-ordinator to monitor the general progress and welfare of research degree candidates, to monitor compliance with administrative requirements such as reporting, and to receive complaints and take appropriate action where necessary; 3.10 The University's requirements for monitoring progress during candidature, by regular review at supervisor/candidate meetings and at milestone reviews, are met, and unsatisfactory progress is identified as early as possible and relevant support is provided to the candidate; 3.11 Full and accurate information is disseminated to all HDR candidates by the School with details of requirements and procedures relating to all relevant matters administered at College and University level, including: Code of practice for HDR August 2014.docx Page 3 of 9

4 Complaints procedures; Procedures for identifying and dealing with unsatisfactory progress; A statement on the facilities and resources available to postgraduates within the School/Portfolio and the University; Guidelines on appeals procedures; Guidelines on authorship, plagiarism and intellectual property; University policy and process on the timing and mode of presentation for candidature milestone reviews Mechanisms are in place to promote regular consultation and development of productive intellectual relationships and professional & ethical behaviour between staff and candidates and among candidates, and which include: induction/orientation programs at the appropriate level; courses/seminars/workshops on research methods and procedures a regular program of graduate seminars in the School s research area(s); training workshops, as appropriate, on health and safety procedures; seminars or appropriate training in ethical issues and procedures; training workshops in generic skills development; workshops/seminars on thesis/project writing skills and writing for publishing; short courses, if required, to meet the gaps in knowledge/experience that emerge during the progress of the research and as identified by the supervisor; 3.13 Research degree candidates should be encouraged to participate in University surveys gathering feedback on the research student experience; 3.14 Tutorships and other teaching and research-related employment, if offered, is relevant to the area of research of the candidate and adds value and further supports the candidate s program. 7 See part C of the Candidate progress management instruction. 8 See the Student conduct regulations and associated documents 9 Alternative provision may be needed as appropriate for off-campus and off-shore candidates Code of practice for HDR August 2014.docx Page 4 of 9

5 4. Responsibilities of the supervisor Supervisors are required to: 4.1 Give guidance about the nature of research, professional conduct and the requirements of the degree, including, what constitutes a significant contribution in the case of a Masters by research candidate, and an original and significant contribution in the case of a Doctoral student; research and professional standards expected; choice of research topic; planning of the research program; presentation of a research proposal, literature and sources; participation in appropriate courses, seminars and workshops; advice on requisite research methods and techniques; a briefing on the pre-determined and specifically funded research program which the candidate has been nominated to research. 4.2 Be familiar with the Regulations, Policies and Procedures for Higher Degrees by Research and other relevant University policies and regulations; 4.3 Advise the candidate on productive use of the candidate's time especially in the first year of candidature; 4.4 Give detailed advice on the necessary completion dates of candidature milestone reviews and successive stages of work, so that the thesis/projects may be submitted on time; 4.5 Provide an availability schedule so that a schedule of regular meetings with the candidate can be negotiated at the outset, and maintained; 4.6 Ensure work is received from the candidate on a pre-arranged, regular basis and such work returned with constructive criticism within one month or less as appropriate; 4.7 Monitor the performance of the candidate and ensure that the candidate promptly is made aware of inadequate progress or of below standard work, by specifying the problems and suggesting ways of addressing them. Notes should be kept of such discussions and any actions taken. If the problem is not resolved, action should be Code of practice for HDR August 2014.docx Page 5 of 9

6 taken in accordance with the Candidate progress management procedure and instruction; 4.8 Comment critically and constructively and in reasonable time on the content and the drafts of the thesis/project and, at the time of submission, certify that the work is of an appropriate standard, is properly presented, conforms to the policies and procedures for Higher Degrees by Research and is, therefore worthy of examination; 4.9 Provide the Recommended Panel of examiners form containing the names and credentials of examiners to the SGR in regulation time, and normally after discussion with the candidate. Examiners 10 should be: free from bias and not involved in any potential or perceived conflict of interest with the candidate, supervisor/s, school or university, active and knowledgeable in the field, understand the theoretical framework of the thesis/project Comply with School and University policies and processes on monitoring candidate progress; 4.11 Advise and provide support to the candidate on preparation for, and performance in, any reports and reviews of candidature progress required by the University and School; 4.12 Advise the candidate and any relevant staff on applications for leave of absence; 4.13 Ensure that the candidate is adequately trained in safe study or research practices relevant to the field of research and adheres to established University guidelines; 4.14 Ensure that the candidate is fully aware of the need to follow ethical practices as laid down in national and state guidelines, University policy, and as specified by any relevant funding body; 4.15 Arrange as appropriate for candidates to make presentations of their research work in school and college seminars and support them in their preparations; 4.16 Ensure as far as possible that candidates, including those whose major work is being conducted away from the University, or in a joint project with a commercial or industrial partner, participate in the intellectual life of the School, provided it has no adverse effects on the pre-determined joint project, or distracts the candidate from their research program; 10 Criteria for determining who is not eligible to be an examiner are defined in the Examination policy. Code of practice for HDR August 2014.docx Page 6 of 9

7 4.17 Ensure that candidates have adequate access to the necessary human and physical resources to conduct their research program; 4.18 Oversee the candidate's work to ensure that the design of experiments, and the processes of acquiring, recording, storing, examining and interpreting data and preparing material for publication have been properly and adequately undertaken; 4.19 Ensure that the direction of the research work is under the control of the University and candidate in accordance with University policy, with no undue distraction from other work/employment, particularly where funds are externally provided or there is a commercial dimension to the research; 4.20 Encourage and support candidates to publish their work where appropriate; 4.21 Ensure that agreement is reached between the candidate and supervisor concerning authorship of publications and acknowledgement of contributions during and after candidature. There should be open and mutual recognition of the candidate's and supervisor's contribution on all published work arising from the project. There should be proper attribution of authorship; 4.22 Ensure adherence to the University policy and School guidelines on intellectual property, and fully inform the candidate, preferably prior to commencement of the candidature, of any implications of the project with respect to intellectual property. Where there are commercial implications, there may be a need to develop a formal agreement on participation in the project and restrictions on communication or publication of results or access to the thesis; 4.23 Ensure that original data are recorded in a durable and appropriately referenced form and stored safely for the stipulated period in accordance with the Research data management policy and associated documents; Advise candidates on how to deal constructively and appropriately with critical review, including examiners comments and recommendations; 4.25 Encourage and support candidates to attend and present at seminars and conferences in their area of research; 4.26 Help candidates to create strategic networks by putting them in contact with relevant researchers in their field; 4.27 Encourage and support a candidate s career aspirations and planning and help them develop the personal and professional capabilities that will enhance their career options; Code of practice for HDR August 2014.docx Page 7 of 9

8 4.28 Ensure as best as possible that the candidate, in addition to meeting research requirements, adheres to professional conduct and behaviour during the course of study and that inappropriate conduct is reported to the appropriate body in time for remedial action. 5. Responsibilities of the candidate It is the responsibility of the candidate to: 5.1 Become familiar and comply with all regulations, policies and procedures for Higher Degrees by Research governing the degree, and with any other relevant University, policies and procedures; 5.2 Discuss with the supervisor the type of guidance and comment considered most helpful, and agree and adhere to a schedule of meetings, as directed by the supervisor, to ensure regular contact; 5.3 Take the initiative in raising problems or difficulties in research and share responsibility with the supervisor for seeking appropriate solutions; 5.4 Maintain the progress of the work in accordance with the stages as discussed and agreed with the supervisor; 5.5 Provide all documentation for the milestone reviews and other research related events at times required by the University, School and supervisor/s; 5.6 Follow, at all times, safe study/research practices relevant to the field of research, and adhere to health and safety guidelines in places of study and work; 5.7 Obtain necessary ethics approvals prior to data collection and collect data in accordance with ethics requirements; 5.8 Follow University policy on intellectual property and observe any limitations on communication, publication or access to the thesis which have been agreed with the University and any commercial partner or collaborator; 5.9 Become familiar with and utilise the resources, facilities and opportunities provided by the University and the School; 5.10 Endeavour to integrate into the intellectual community provided by the School and University for enhancing the research program; 5.11 Acquire or improve the skills and knowledge required for completion of the research project; 5.12 Acquire or improve the skills and knowledge that will enhance employability or career development after graduation; Code of practice for HDR August 2014.docx Page 8 of 9

9 5.13 Enhance the ability to work as an independent researcher; 5.14 Ensure that original data are recorded in a durable and appropriately referenced form and stored safely for the stipulated period; 5.15 Prepare the thesis/project for examination and, where appropriate, consulting the supervisor regarding matters of style and presentation, according to the Higher Degrees by Research policies and procedures; 5.16 Prepare the final archival version of the thesis/project for lodgement in the RMIT Research Repository; 5.17 Notify contact details at the beginning of the research program and any subsequent change of name, address or status to the staff member responsible for HDR administration in the school, and appropriate University authorities; 5.18 Be prepared to participate in University surveys gathering feedback on the research student experience; 5.18 Ensure that professional conduct and behaviour is in accordance with accepted academic practice Keep the supervisor(s) updated on all interactions with the commercial or industry partner prior to and after meetings for advice and direction, if the research program is a joint project with a commercial or industrial partner; 5.21 Ensure availability for meetings and consultation in working hours if a full-time candidate. When off site, seek prior approval of the supervisor and provide details. If a part-time candidate, arrange and agree with supervisor on days/times of availability on site; 5.22 Discuss and agree with supervisor leave plans and seek recommendations on the application for leave. Code of practice for HDR August 2014.docx Page 9 of 9

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