Research guidelines

1.      Introduction


These guidelines are to be followed by all who are engaged in research under the auspices of the Regional Maritime University. The guidelines relate to good research practice and ethics.  They reflect:

  • The University’s recognition of its role as an internationally recognised custodian of objective knowledge particularly in the maritime domain,
  • The University’s acknowledgement of its responsibility to society to only publicise knowledge in keeping with the highest standards of academic integrity, objectivity, openness and accountability; in ensuring that research undertaken in its name is conducted in accordance with the highest ethical and moral standards and in compliance with the relevant laws, with due respect to public interest,
  • The University’s requirement that members of faculty, staff and students and all who use its name, premises and/or facilities, irrespective of the sources of their funding, their area of research, their experience as researchers or whether they are lone scholars or members of a research team or institution, conduct research to the highest ethical standards.


RMU requires ethics to be a necessary consideration at all stages of research – design, conduct, analysis and results dissemination - both in respect of a researcher’s own work and in respect of the work of others.


2.      Research objectivity 

Research must be, as for as possible, free from subjective biases.  Any conflicts of interest that have a potential to affect the objectivity of research findings, should be declared in a transparent manner. 


3.      Data protection and access 

The University recognises the researcher’s right and obligation to protect on-going research data and analysis.  However, the University expects that all data and analysis in support of the findings, as much as reasonably practicable, will be made accessible and available on request in an open and transparent manner, once research findings are publicised. Any such disclosure must be done with the relevant assurances of anonymity or confidentiality of research participants in mind.

Where the circumstances so necessitate, and only for specific cases, a bar on access may be granted by the University. 


4.      Personal responsibility 

Research work and the associated dissemination of research results, must be the candidate’s own work and must be truthful and transparent.  All researchers are expected to accept personal responsibility for what they publicly disseminate.  Due acknowledgement must be made of the contribution of sponsors including funding sources.


5.      Intellectual property rights 

The University places highly the respect of intellectual property rights.  All research done at the University is subject to the relevant national and international intellectual property instruments.  Plagiarism - the representation of other people’s work as one’s own or the citation of other people’s work without the necessary acknowledgment in the required format - is a serious academic offence which will attract strict disciplinary action.  It is the responsibility of all researchers to ensure that all external sources cited in their work are acknowledged using the appropriate citation and referencing format or style.  The format or style used must be consistent throughout the work and in consonance with the tradition of the research field.  Under these guidelines, the purposeful misrepresentation of work done by another is considered to be academic dishonesty.


6.      Transparency and integrity 

Data and evidence presented as supporting research findings must be free from falsification, fabrication or suppression.  All analysis of data must be transparent and done in cognisance of its effect on the wider society.  All research, particularly those that have the potential to malign specific groups, must be without prejudice.  Where research is deemed to impact different entities, these entities should have the possibility of having their views aired and considered.


7.      Informed consent and voluntary participation 

Where research is undertaken with human subjects, they must be treated with dignity and respect and be free from harm.  Their willingness to participate based on informed consent must be ensured implicitly or explicitly.  Recordings of interviews, whether audio or video, must only be done with the permission of the subject of the interview.  Where the research participants so desire, the research must respect their right to anonymity or confidentiality.  As appropriate to the research in hand, documentary evidence of such consent must be secured using the relevant RMU research quality form.  Where research is based on necessary covertness, there should nevertheless be guarantees that such covertness does not compromise the human rights of any individual or group or create harm in any way.


8.      Consequences of breaches of these guidelines 

Breaches of these guidelines will attract sanctions as the University may determine, without prejudice to any action that may be taken by an external party e.g. a copyright holder. 


9.      Obligations 

(1) All academic staff members of the University are required to make themselves familiar with international standards of research ethics and particularly the University’s guidelines on same.  Where research findings are disseminated in peer-reviewed contexts, the standards of acceptable scholarship relevant to the particular context must be appreciated and adhered to.

(2) All are under obligation to bring to the notice of the University any breaches of the University’s guidelines on good research practice.


10.  Right to academic freedom 

The University acknowledges and promotes researchers’ right to academic freedom and the associated responsibilities.  The responsible conduct of high-quality research and the optimum dissemination of resulting findings are especially encouraged.  The University encourages researchers to submit their work to the international peer-review process to facilitate enhanced authenticity, value and social responsibility of research work carried out in the University.