Responsible research for graduate researchers

We’ll help you to conduct your research in a responsible and ethical way.

Research ethics are important for several reasons. They promote the aims of research – discovering knowledge and truth, and avoiding error. And they support the values needed for collaborative work, such as respect and fairness.

Once enrolled, you will complete a training program that explains your responsibilities and how to fulfil them. And your supervisors will provide support and guidance throughout your research journey.

There are two areas of responsible research that you should consider early on in your candidature. These are authorship and ethics approval. Read more about the University’s expectations below.


We encourage you to publish your research to build your profile as a researcher. And we encourage you (where appropriate) to use published and in-progress articles in your thesis. Acknowledging individuals that have contributed to your research is a necessary part of this process. This also ensures accurate accountability for research. A person should be listed as an author of a research output only when they:

  • have made a significant intellectual or scholarly contribution to the research
  • are willing to be accountable for their contribution
  • agree to be listed as an author.

For a further explanation of authorship and publication practices, see our Authorship policy.

Getting help with authorship

You should discuss authorship with your supervisor as early as possible. You will then need to discuss authorship with those involved in your research. We have a process to help you discuss and plan the authorship of your research outputs with contributors.

Ethics approval

You will need ethics approval for any research projects that involve:

  • Human participants
  • Animals
  • Genetically modified organisms
  • Hazardous biological agents.

You must seek approval from the appropriate University committee before your work begins. Approval will not be granted retrospectively.

As a graduate researcher, you will be supported through the ethics application process. We offer online resources and training to make the process easy and efficient, and to help you gain approval.

Charter for Research with Indigenous Knowledge Holders

The Indigenous Knowledge Institute at the University of Melbourne has adopted a Charter for Research with Indigenous Knowledge Holders.

Research undertaken at the University of Melbourne is expected to be conducted in line with this charter, including respecting Indigenous Cultural and Intellectual Property.

Other regulatory requirements

You may also need to complete a Police Check or Working with Children Check if your research brings you into contact with:

  • Children
  • Patients
  • Vulnerable groups.

First published on 16 February 2022.

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