Research Integrity complaints

UNSW expects its staff, students and affiliates to behave lawfully and in accordance with the applicable codes of conduct. UNSW researchers are obligated to report potential breaches of the UNSW Research Code of Conduct.

UNSW researchers are expected to be committed to high standards of professional conduct in accordance with the accepted practice of their disciplines, UNSW and National Codes, Policies & Guidelines and legislative requirements. Allowing people to do the wrong thing can have a detrimental impact on the reputation of individuals, UNSW, and the excellence of research more generally.

Resolving your complaint 

In most cases, concerns can be simply and quickly resolved by raising them at a local level when they arise with the person or area responsible. In instances where issues cannot be resolved by Steps 1, a complaint can be made in Step 3.

IMPORTANT: If your complaint involves an immediate risk of harm to humans, animals or the environment please contact UNSW Research Ethics and Compliance Support now.

What is (not) a complaint?

How do I make a complaint?

Step 1. Talk to someone

Your first point of contact should be your supervisor or the Research Integrity Advisor (RIA) for your faculty.

Faculty RIAs are familiar with the Responsible Conduct of Research requirements for your broad discipline and can offer confidential advice on whether your complaint should be referred to the Conduct & Integrity Office.

You can refer to the Complaints Management & Investigations Policy & Procedure for more information. For complaints and reports submitted prior to 12 February 2024, please refer to the relevant complaint and misconduct procedures.

How will my complaint be resolved?

Step 2. Make a complaint

If you feel uncomfortable or have tried unsuccessfully to resolve your concerns with the relevant person, or Faculty RIA in Step 1, you can lodge a formal complaint in writing with the UNSW Conduct and Integrity Office below.

Below are some tips when making your complaint.

  • Be timely.  The sooner you make a complaint, the quicker the issue can be considered and hopefully resolved.
  • Provide evidence. To better support your claim, include as much evidence as possible. Depending on the nature of your complaint this might include emails and other correspondence, draft manuscripts or published papers, ethics approval documents or reference numbers. The University will assess your complaint and may request more detail from you to assist in deciding how to handle the issues you raise.
  • Be respectful. You might be dissatisfied about something, but please be mindful in communicating your concerns with courtesy and respect to the case managers assigned to your case. They are available to respond to any questions you have about the complaint process.

The University respects the wishes of those wanting to remain anonymous. However, please keep in mind the University’s ability to investigate an anonymous complaint may be limited and you will also not be provided the outcome of your complaint.

What happens now?

Once you make a complaint, the Conduct & Integrity Office (CIO) will endeavour to progress your complaint as efficiently as possible.

You will receive acknowledgement within 5 working days. A staff member of the CIO assigned to your case will then assess the complaint and advise you of the next steps. The staff member may contact you to gather additional information or request clarification.

The next steps may include assigning a case manager to conduct a Preliminary Enquiry in accordance with the Complaints Management & Investigations Policy & Procedure

  • If you are dissatisfied with the way your complaint was handled, you may request an Internal Review. An Internal Review may only be requested on the grounds of a lack of procedural fairness in the investigation process, or where there is new and compelling information not available at the time of the investigation.

    You can only request an internal review at the conclusion of the complaints process, and the request must be received within 20 working days of receiving the determination outcome. In exceptional circumstances, the Independent Review Officer (IRO) may extend the deadline of 20 working days following a request for an extension from the student or staff member in writing."

    It is NOT possible to request an Internal Review on the merits of a decision.

    Will I be treated fairly?

    Procedural fairness is about ensuring that:

    • People are provided with all necessary details of the complaint that has been made against them
    • People are given a proper opportunity to respond to the complaint against them before a decision is made (including as to any mitigating circumstances)
    • Persons involved in deciding an outcome do not have any bias or conflict of interest
    • A decision is based only on relevant evidence.

    Once a determination has been made by the appropriate decision maker, you may request an Internal Review.

    For more detailed information, please see the Complaints Management & Investigations Policy & Procedure

  • You can lodge a complaint to an external agency at any time.

    External agencies include:

    Please keep in mind that some external agencies may require you to have lodged an internal complaint first.

  • You may withdraw your complaint at any time by notifying the University in writing. In most instances the University will take no further action. However, in some circumstances the University may act on matters raised in or related to the complaint or refer the matter to an external agency, where authorised or required to do so by law. In these situations, the University may notify the complainant.

  • UNSW will maintain a record of all complaints on Case IQ, at all stages of the complaints handling process. Records may also be kept of local level complaints. The University respects the wishes of those wanting to remain anonymous. Please keep in mind, however, UNSW's ability to investigate an anonymous complaint may be limited.

    Learn more about UNSW's Privacy Statement

The new UNSW Code of Conduct & Values takes effect from Friday 17th May 2024
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