The Royal Society of New Zealand is legislated to “provide infrastructure and other support for the professional needs of scientists, technologists and humanities scholars”.  This section of the website seeks to be a point of reference for researchers and scholars seeking to identify good quality research practices.

What is research practice?

Research practice encompasses the generic methodologies that are common to all fields of research and scholarly endeavor. The term “good research practice” describes the expected norms of professional behavior of researchers.

Ethics and integrity

Researchers are expected to behave in an ethically-responsible manner in their activities. In practice, ethics and integrity in the research community has several components:

Professional codes

In New Zealand there is one professional code specific to the research community, the Royal Society of New Zealand’s Code of Professional Standards and Ethics. Members of the Society are bound to obey it, and it is used on a voluntary basis by others.

Update to the Society’s Code of Professional Standards and Ethics

The Royal Society of New Zealand Code of Professional Standards and Ethics is currently being reviewed by a working group on behalf of the Society and will be updated. Learn more about the process for the update. 

Working with human subjects

In New Zealand, research involving the collection of personal information must meet established standards of practice. Many research organisations use ethics committees, including independent lay members, to review and approve proposals for their adherence to good practice.

Working with animal subjects

Australian and New Zealand Council for the Care of Animals in Research and Teaching (ANZCCART)In New Zealand, research involving the use of animals must meet established standards of practice. New Zealand is a member of the Australia New Zealand Council for Care of Animals in Research and Teaching (ANZCCART).

Publication ethics

Publication ethics include matters such as plagiarism, self-plagiarism and falsification of published results. The Committee on Publication Ethics is an international body that has established a model of best practice.

Public engagement by researchers, scholars and scientists

Modern society expects to be able to openly discuss and debate research findings, and sometimes to participate in the design and execution of research and its dissemination. The Royal Society of New Zealand has published Public Engagement Guidelines for Researchers, Scholars and Scientists for such engagement.

Research integrity

Research integrity is a term used to describe the adherence to good ethical standards during the conduct of research, excluding the aspects of publication and working with human and animal subjects. The Royal Society of New Zealand’s Code of Professional Standards and Ethics includes research integrity.

Researcher identification

Researchers, research institutions, publishers and funding bodies routinely face the problem of accurately linking research publications, data and other research activities to the right researcher.

The use of unique persistent identifiers allows research work to be correctly attributed to its creator, funding sources and also better connect to data systems, supporting best research practice.

The Royal Society of New Zealand is the lead agency of the New Zealand ORCID Consortium to encourage the adoption and use of ORCID iD as the digital identifier for New Zealand’s research system.

Mentoring guidelines

In February 2017 the Society’s Council approved a working group to develop a set of mentoring guidelines for researchers at the instigation of the Early Career Researcher Forum Committee.  The goal is to identify good practices and potential pitfalls in mentoring relationships, as an exemplar available to anyone.

The guidelines will cover a wide variety of contexts within the research and scholarly community, and will be widely circulated for review and input by others before being finalised.

Members of the working group are Dr Jane Allison (convenor), Dr Philip Steer, Associate Professor Daniel Stouffer, Dr Melinda Webber, Distinguished Professor Peter Hunter FRSNZ, Professor Richard Le Heron FRSNZ, Professor Linda Smith FRSNZ and Professor Margaret Brimble FRSNZ.

Dealing with issues and concerns about conduct

Should a person consider that another researcher has failed to follow good research practice or has behaved unethically, the means by which the concerns can be raised in New Zealand are:

  • through a complaint to the Royal Society of New Zealand if the researcher concerned is a member of the Society
  • to the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research) at a New Zealand university
  • to the management of other types of research organisations

The Society’s Chief Executive may be contacted for advice on mechanisms available for reporting and dealing with alleged misconduct.