Senate regulation 9: Regulations governing Research Degree Programmes: Research student responsibilities, copyright, and leave (9.140-9.177)
Research student obligations and research conduct
Research students must familiarise themselves with the general definitions of misconduct specified in Senate Regulation 11. These include both academic and non-academic forms of misconduct.
All students of the University shall be subject to the jurisdiction of the Senate, in respect both of their studies and their conduct. The Senate has the power to suspend, exclude, or expel any student deemed to have been guilty of misconduct or to impose such other penalties as may be appropriate.
In addition to the Senate Regulations, research students shall be required to abide by the Code of Conduct for Research.
Responsibilities of research students
The research student shall have primary responsibility for the direction and progress of their research and for the delivery of a thesis of an appropriate standard within the specified maximum registration period.
The research student shall be expected to adopt a professional approach to the research degree programme, including:
- good timekeeping
- observing deadlines
- reading and responding to communications from the supervisory team and other members of the University
- taking responsibility for their own skills and career development.
The responsibilities of the research student shall include:
- completing initial registration and any subsequent re-registration as required and, in the case of international research students, complying with all relevant immigration requirements
- making themselves familiar with relevant policies and procedures – in particular, with the Senate Regulations and the Code of Conduct for Research
- developing an appropriate research plan that will enable submission of the thesis for examination within the specified maximum registration period
- managing and sustaining progress in accordance with the agreed research plan, including the submission to the supervisory team of interim work as required
- recognising when they need help and taking the initiative in raising any concerns and problems as early as possible with the supervisory team or the Postgraduate Research Tutor
- complying with all relevant requirements with respect to intellectual property
- making time at the start of the research degree programme to discuss with the supervisory team the nature of research, the standard of work expected of research students, and the respective roles and responsibilities of the research student and the supervisory team
- confirming with the supervisory team how supervision will work in practice and clarifying their own preferences with respect to the type of supervisory guidance needed and the ways in which this might be provided
- maintaining regular contact with the supervisory team and taking the initiative in agreeing with the supervisory team a mutually acceptable schedule for formal supervisory meetings
- reflecting on and responding to feedback and guidance provided by the supervisory team at formal supervisory meetings
- preparing and keeping an agreed written record of each formal supervisory meeting within MyPGR
- complying with the University’s requirements for formal progress reviews
- undertaking appropriate skills and career development training
- maintaining a record of completed skills and career development activities and reviewing and revising their training plan as appropriate within MyPGR
- providing the supervisory team with a complete final draft of the thesis by a mutually acceptable date in sufficient time before the required submission date for the supervisors to read and comment on
- reflecting on and responding to feedback and guidance provided by the supervisory team with regards to the final draft of the thesis
- ensuring that the thesis complies with all relevant regulations, including those on word length, format, and binding
- making appropriate preparations for the viva voce examination and attending the examination as required by the examining team
- complying with all thesis final submission requirements – submission to the University Library of an electronic copy of the thesis.
Ethical approval of research
Research students undertaking work that involves human participants must receive ethical approval prior to its commencement. The research student must familiarise themselves with the requirements for the approval of work on ethical grounds, including the need to complete an online ethics application form for review by the relevant University Research Ethics Committee or, where required, a National Health Service Research Ethics Committee. Research involving human participants must not commence without the prior approval of the relevant committee.
The research student must consult the supervisory team if they are thinking of making any changes to the proposed research after having received ethics approval. If the research student fails to seek appropriate ethical approval prior to commencing their work, or fails to consult with the supervisory team regarding major changes to their work once it has commenced, the Head of Department may initiate proceedings for academic dishonesty as specified in 9.151 to 9.154.
The University’s primary functions of teaching and research involve a search for knowledge and the truthful recording of the findings of that search. Any action that is knowingly taken by the research student which involves misrepresentation of the truth shall be considered as academic dishonesty and as such is an offence which the University believes should merit the application of very severe penalties.
Offences in this category shall include, but are not confined to:
- cheating in examinations
- copying work from or using work written by another student
- copying from published authorities, including online sources, without acknowledgement
- making work available to another person for copying
- soliciting or commissioning work
- pretending ownership of another’s ideas
- falsifying results
- undertaking research without appropriate ethical approval
If the research student is deemed to have been guilty of academic dishonesty, the Head of Department is authorised to apply the following penalties:
- For academic dishonesty in assessed components excluding the thesis, penalties shall be applied in accordance with Senate Regulation Nine – Appendix Three (research students registered for the degree of DClinPsy, DSocSci, EdD, or EngD)
- For academic dishonesty in a formal progress review report and/or presentation, the research student shall be given a severe written warning and permitted to repeat the progress review – except in such cases where the level of dishonesty is such that the Head of Department considers it necessary to refer the case to a Senate Disciplinary Panel (research students registered for the degree of PhD, MD, PsyD, or MPhil)
- For academic dishonesty in the development of the thesis or in other non-assessed work, the research student shall be given a severe written warning – except in such cases where the level of dishonesty is such that the Head of Department considers it necessary to refer the case to a Senate Disciplinary Panel
- If academic dishonesty is found in a thesis submitted for examination, this must be reported immediately to the Doctoral College Office; the examination shall be suspended and the Head of Department shall instigate an investigation – where academic dishonesty is confirmed, a viva voce examination shall not be held and the examiners shall normally recommend failure without right of resubmission; if appropriate, further action may be taken as specified in Senate Regulation Eleven.
The nature of a research student’s academic obligations varies from programme to programme and from department to department. If the supervisory team or progress review panel has concerns about whether the research student is meeting their academic obligations or has serious doubts about the student’s progress or ability to achieve the degree for which they are registered, the Head of Department and the Postgraduate Research Tutor must immediately be notified in writing.
The Head of Department, in consultation with the Postgraduate Research Tutor and the supervisory team, shall decide on the most appropriate course of action.
The Head of Department must ensure that the research student fully understands their responsibilities and the reasons why their progress is considered to be unsatisfactory. Initial measures taken by the Department shall normally be supportive – for example, a suspension of registration if there are personal or medical difficulties, reformulation of the research area, or transfer to a lower degree.
If after such action the research student’s progress remains unsatisfactory, or the research student is unable to demonstrate the ability to perform at the required level, the Head of Department shall either:
- issue a formal warning to the student as specified in Senate Regulation Eleven, or
- refer the matter to a Panel of the Senate Student Discipline Committee with a recommendation that the student should have their registration terminated.
Intellectual property shall be attributed in accordance with the requirements specified in the Intellectual Property Policy and the Code of Conduct for Research.
The research student shall be responsible for complying with such requirements for the protection of intellectual property as are specified by the University as well as any other applicable requirements for the protection of third party intellectual property.
There are a number of ways in which confidentiality can be compromised by disclosure of a discovery or invention. Research students must be aware that disclosure can occur as a result of an academic presentation (such as a spoken presentation, conference abstract, poster, etc.) or any other conversation (such as a written, spoken, or electronic communication, etc.). Breaches of confidentiality may result in an inability to protect the intellectual property in the future. They may also result in actions for recovery of losses against the University and the individual concerned.
The research student must consult the supervisory team if they have any concerns regarding the possible disclosure of intellectual property. The research student and/or the supervisory team may consult the Intellectual Property Policy or seek further advice from the Enterprise and Business Development Office.
The research student shall hold the copyright for their thesis.
The research student shall be responsible for ensuring that they comply with any requirements for their use of material to which a third party holds the copyright. This shall include the use of such material in the thesis and in papers, posters, presentations, etc.
Proof reading services
Research students who use an external proof reading service must comply with the requirements specified in the Policy Relating to Proof Reading Services.
Research students who suffer a minor illness for a period of less than seven days must report it to the Department where this may have affected their ability to meet their academic obligations.
Research students who suffer an illness of more than seven days’ duration or that is of a non-minor nature must seek medical advice and obtain a medical certificate. A copy of the medical certificate must be provided to the Department and to the Doctoral College Office.
The research student shall be responsible for providing such documentation as shall be required by the University as evidence of their illness or of their fitness to resume the research degree programme.
Leave and holidays
Research students may in each calendar year take periods of annual leave, normally up to a maximum of twenty-seven (full-time) or thirteen and a half (part-time) leave days. Requests to take annual leave must be made through the supervisory team and recorded by the Department. Requests to take leave for a period of more than one month shall not normally be approved.
In addition to the annual leave entitlement, there are a number of United Kingdom public holidays and a further number of days in each year which are allocated by the University as closure days around the Christmas and Easter periods.
Sponsored research students must comply with any conditions for taking leave that are associated with the terms of their sponsorship. International research students must comply with all attendance monitoring requirements regardless of any agreed leave period.
Full-time research students may with the approval of the Head of Department undertake paid employment (excluding internships or other placements arranged as part of the research degree programme) normally up to a maximum of eight hours each week.
Sponsored research students must comply with any conditions for undertaking paid employment that are associated with the terms of their sponsorship. International research students must comply with any conditions for undertaking paid employment that are associated with the terms of their immigration status.
The undertaking of paid employment alongside a research degree programme shall not be accepted as an extenuating circumstance for poor academic performance, neglect of academic obligations, or academic dishonesty.
Internships and placements
The research student may, with the approval of the supervisory team, undertake an internship or other placement over the duration of the research degree registration. In some cases, the completion of an internship/placement may be a condition of the research student’s sponsorship.
The duration and timing of the internship/placement shall be agreed between the research student, the supervisory team, and the internship/placement host. The supervisory team shall have the final say on the duration and timing of the internship/placement.
If the internship/placement is not undertaken as a condition of the research student’s sponsorship, it shall not normally exceed three months either as a block of time or spread over the duration of research degree programme. The prior approval of the Dean of the Doctoral College shall be required for internships/placements not undertaken as a condition of the research student’s sponsorship and which would exceed three months.
The internship/placement period shall normally count towards the specified minimum and maximum registration periods.
International research students must comply with all attendance monitoring requirements regardless of any agreed internship/placement period.
Appeals and complaints
The research student may appeal against an academic decision concerning progress, the award of a degree lower than that for which they were registered, or the termination of their registration. Research students who wish to appeal against an academic decision of these types must submit a formal academic appeal as specified in Senate Regulation Ten.
Research students who are dissatisfied with any element of the research degree programme or supervision must raise any concerns at the time they occur and prior to submission of the thesis for examination. The research student must raise any such concerns with the supervisory team in the first instance. Research students who are dissatisfied with the response of the supervisory team should take their concerns to the Postgraduate Research Tutor or the Head of Department. Research students who are unable to resolve difficulties through these routes may submit a formal complaint as specified in Senate Regulation Twelve.