1) When and how will this be implemented?
The Consent to Disclosure of Personal Information became an integral part of the regular application process for agency programs on November 17, 2011. The process applies to all applications received on or after this date. Consent will be required for an application to be submitted.
2) What is the definition of a serious breach of agency policy?
In determining whether a breach is serious, the agency will consider the extent to which the breach jeopardizes the safety of the public or brings the conduct of research into disrepute. This determination will be based on an assessment of the nature of the breach, the level of experience of the researcher, whether there is a pattern of breaches by the researcher, and other factors as appropriate. Examples of serious breaches may include:
3) What happens if an applicant refuses to agree with the Consent to Disclosure of Personal Information? What if one member of a group refuses?
If an applicant refuses to agree with the Consent to Disclosure of Personal Information, the application will not be accepted by the agency. Should an individual participating in a group application refuse to agree to the consent, the application would have to be submitted without the name and participation of said individual.
4) Will this apply to all agency programs (award programs, scholarships, chair programs, Networks of Centre of Excellence, etc.)?
The Consent to Disclosure of Personal Information process applies to all programs of the agencies where researchers receive funds and have to agree to comply with agency policy.
5) How will you publicly disclose the names of those individuals found to be in serious breach of agency policy?
The relevant agency will publish this information on its Web site.
6) If the researcher has changed jobs since the breach, will the new employers' name be publicly disclosed?
Yes, if the employer is an eligible institution that has signed the Agreement on the Administration of Agency Grants and Awards by Research Institutions.
7) Is this an element of the new Tri-Agency Framework: Responsible Conduct of Research (the Framework)?
The disclosure of personal information is included in the new Framework, which was released on December 5, 2011.
8) Will applicants have to agree to this consent every time they apply for funding?
Applicants will have to agree to the Consent to Disclosure of Personal Information for all applications submitted to the Agencies.
9) Does this new measure apply to students looking to obtain financial support through the Agencies’ programs?
Students applying for financial support from any of the Agencies’ programs will have to agree to the Consent to Disclosure of Personal Information.
10) Will students hired by professors who receive grants have to sign this waiver?
No, because the agencies do not have a direct relationship with these students. However, these students are subject to institutional integrity and other responsible conduct of research policies.
11) What is happening in other countries? How do we compare internationally?
Integrity policies and processes differ greatly from one country to the next. A number of countries are releasing the names of researchers found to be in serious breach of policy through various central bodies, institutions, etc.
12) Does this policy apply to all the federal granting agencies?
The Consent to Disclosure of Personal Information applies to Canada’s three granting agencies, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC).
13) Do we get many cases of serious breach of agency policies? What are some examples?
Cases of scientific misconduct are extremely rare in Canada. The vast majority of researchers conduct their research with rigour and integrity. General statistics on the number of allegations of non-compliance with research policies for each agency are available on their respective Web sites at: CIHR, NSERC, SSHRC.
14) What about researchers who are currently receiving funding or have recently applied for funding? Will they have to agree to this consent?
No. This requirement only applies to new applications received on or after November 17, 2011, and to the awards made for those applications.