The way in which research is planned and executed, the results are recorded and reported, and the benefits are disseminated, applied and exploited will be decided by the SOP of Research Policy. Excellence in research can only be achieved if researchers at all levels are nurtured, trained and supervised systematically in a conducive research culture that encourages open discussions and debate which will lead to quality research output. Team leaders of each team at respective level are responsible for building a platform of academic freedom for innovative thought process, motivating young researchers and ensuring them to gain enough skillset for quality research output.
Creation of network of experts from academic institutions and Industries for mentoring and systematic nurturing structures the integral framework for quality research practice. Steps for quality research include continuous monitoring and upgrading of training and supervision strategies for researchers, regular checks on recorded data and notebooks, and occasional checks on the day- to-day conduct of routine business of research laboratories.
Planning the research
All research initiatives of the University should be conceived, designed and implemented according to the highest standards. The following would architect the mainframe for the same-
- Celerity in the idea generation and its subsequent progression
- Clarity in the documentation proposal plan of investigation along with proper justifications and any subsequent modifications.
- Proper distribution of roles and responsibilities of each researchers (in case of collaborative research activities) along with benefits of the outcome of research.
- Clarity in the policy of protection of intellectual property rights.
- Adherence to the safety practices and ethical standards.
- Securing all necessary ethical and regulatory approvals.
- Assessment of the available resources and resources needed to ensure the quality research output
- Policy for optimised utilization of resources ( recurring and non-recurring)
- Regular review for SOPs for continuous improvement.
- Regular review of the research progress to identify shortcoming in the research processes and to celebrate the research achievements.
Conducting the research
- Each person involved in the study should be familiar with the legal and ethical issues involved in the study.
- Equipment used for investigation should be appropriate and of adequate capacity. All equipments should be calibrated regularly.
- A standard operating procedure (SOP) should be maintained for all the equipments. There should be easily accessible instructions for the safe shutdown of equipment in case of emergency. Do’s and Dont’s should be clearly specified.
- SOP should be documented for all methods / techniques to ensure proper and consistent collection of data.
- All instructions should be written in simple language, readily accessible and ideally in a standardised format.
There should be clarity in responsibilities, accountability as well assignment of research output research programme, wherever relevant:
- Data and samples used or created in the course of research
- The results of the research
- IP to be generated etc
The responsibility and procedures for the storage and disposal of data and samples should be made clear in the beginning of investigation (Research Project). Any research collaboration agreement relating to the research should contain some clauses describing roles, responsibilities and declarations. Researchers should keep clear and accurate records of the procedures followed and the approvals granted during the research process, including records of the interim results obtained as well as the final research outcomes. This is necessary for reporting research results and its outcome. Properly maintained logbooks of each experiment may be used in evidence when establishing ownership of inventions.
All investigators should follow a practice of data recording in the prescribed format so that it allows a complete retrospective audit, if necessary. Data should be stored safely, original data/images should be recorded and retained. This is particularly important when data/images are subsequently enhanced. Both original and enhanced data/images should be stored for future processing. Over-enhancement or over-interpretation of images must be resisted. Confidentiality of data and related information is also important if there is a potential for commercial exploitation. Retention of accurately recorded and retrievable results is essential for research and subsequent processing. Primary research data must be retained in their original form. Researchers who are leaving the University and would like to retain data for personal use must get permission from their team leader or head of the department. This data is important even after its publication
in the form research articles in the Journals of repute.
All raw data should be recorded and retained in indexed laboratory notebooks ( log books) with permanent binding and numbered pages or in an electronic dedicated notebook. Machine printouts, questionnaires, chart recordings, autoradiographs etc. which cannot be attached to the main record should be retained in a separate ring-binder/folder that is cross-indexed with the main record. Records in logbooks should be entered as soon as possible after the data are collected. Recorded data should be identified by the date of the record and/or date of collection. Supervisors should regularly review and endorse the logbooks of researchers to certify that records are appropriate, complete and accurate. Computer generated data should be backed-up regularly; duplicate copies should be held on a separate storage disc in a secure but readily accessible archive. Wherever feasible, a hard copy should be made of important data for ready reference. Copies of relevant software, particularly the version used to process electronic data, must be retained along with the raw data to ensure future access.
The university encourages researchers to be as open as possible in discussing their work and results with other researchers and to the public while recognizing importance of their research output and its protection for intellectual property rights (IPR). The aim of disseminating research and research output is to increase knowledge and understanding and to create awareness among the other researchers for quality research.
Once the results have been published, the University expects the researchers to make the relevant data and the materials available to other researchers, on request. However, it should be reliable with any ethical approvals and consents which cover the data and materials, and any intellectual property rights associated with those publications. Procedures for managing the transfer of material in and out of the University need to be as per the standardised procedure. It is recognized that publication of the results of research may need to be delayed for a reasonable period in order to protect the intellectual property arising from the research. Any such periods of delay in publication should be kept to a minimum and this should normally be no more than 3 months. Therefore, once the results are in hand, the researchers should file provisional patents to protect their invention.
Researchers should be careful when discussing work that is not complete or has not been published, particularly if it has not undergone peer review. Exchange of confidential information by e-mail is not recommended, especially if patent applications are anticipated.
Professional guidance and legislation
The university expects all researchers including students (UG / PG), research scholars and faculty members to observe the standards of best research practices being followed by other institutions and set out in guidelines published by scientific and learned societies, and other relevant professional bodies.
All researchers should be aware of the legal requirements, which regulate their work noting particularly health and safety legislation and data protection.
Leadership and cooperation
Vice Chancellor of the University, Director of Research Centres, Head of the Departments of various academic Departments, and senior colleagues should ensure that a research atmosphere of mutual cooperation is created in which all members of a research team are encouraged to develop their skills and in which the open exchange of ideas is fostered.
The University provides an appropriate direction of research and ensures that research leaders are trained in supervisory skills so that they will be able to groom the researchers to the highest level. Research supervisors should ensure all round development of research scholars at stages of the research process, including outlining or drawing up a hypothesis, preparing applications for grant-in-aid, protocol design, data recording and data analysis.