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Research Peer Review procedure

Section 1 - Preamble

(1) This Procedure is effective from 22 October 2020.

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Section 2 - Purpose

(2) This Procedure outlines the responsibilities of researchers undertaking peer review activities as outlined in the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research, 2018 (the Code), and the supporting NHMRC Peer Review Guide.

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Section 3 - Scope

(3) This Procedure applies to all researchers of Deakin. Undergraduate and postgraduate coursework students are excluded from the scope of this Procedure.

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Section 4 - Policy

(4) This Procedure is pursuant to the Research Conduct policy.

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Section 5 -  Procedure

(5) Peer review is an expression of academic freedom in which scholars publish and comment on areas of scholarship where they possess demonstrable expertise, in accordance with the Code for Upholding Freedom of Speech and Academic Freedom.

(6) Peer review covers a range of activities associated with the scrutiny of research or research outputs, including but not limited to assessment or review of:

  1. research proposals and grant applications (including internal quality review)
  2. academic papers and material for publication and dissemination
  3. the research of Higher Degree Research (HDR) students
  4. research quality, engagement and impact by government bodies, and
  5. research conducted by individual researchers, teams, academic units and institutions.

Responsibilities of Researchers

(7) Researchers are encouraged to participate in, and support, the peer review process as an important part of their academic and scientific endeavour at the Institution.

(8) Researchers should engage in relevant training about peer review processes provided by the Faculties/Institutes, and seek out other relevant training opportunities when they perceive a knowledge gap.

(9) Researchers have a responsibility to assist research trainees under their supervision, including Early Career Researchers and HDR students, to develop the skills necessary for conducting peer review responsibly.

(10) When conducting peer review, researchers must:

  1. ensure they have appropriate expertise to participate in the peer review activity
  2. declare all conflicts of interest to the person or organisation requesting the review
  3. review in accordance with the relevant peer review criteria
  4. ensure objective, rigorous and timely review
  5. apply standards equally and not permit personal prejudices or bias to influence a review
  6. give proper consideration to research that challenges or changes accepted ways of thinking, which may include innovative, interdisciplinary or collaborative research
  7. maintain professionalism in the tone of their comments and be as constructive as possible
  8. maintain confidentiality of the review, and not:
    1. contact the author/s unless authorised
    2. delegate their responsibilities or ask assistance with a review, unless authorised
    3. disclose the content of any material under review or the outcome of any review process
    4. take advantage of knowledge or information obtained during the peer review process.

(11) Researchers whose work is undergoing peer review must not seek to influence the process or outcomes.

Breaches of the Researcher Peer Review Procedure

(12) Allegations of breaches of this Procedure will be managed in accordance with the Research Integrity Breaches procedure.

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Section 6 - Definitions

(13) For the purpose of this Procedure:

  1. Peer review: is the impartial and independent assessment of research by others working in the same or related field. It provides scrutiny of proposed research or research outputs and helps to maintain high standards in research, including by ensuring that accepted disciplinary standards are met.
  2. Research trainee: Higher Degree by Research students and Early Career Researchers.