Research Complaints

The University is committed to resolving complaints and allegations with respect and integrity.

What should I do before making a complaint?

Have you spoken with your Supervisor or Research Integrity Advisor?

Your first point of contact should be your Supervisor or the Research Integrity Advisor of your Faculty. They should be familiar with the relevant Codes and Procedures relating to research integrity for their discipline and will offer confidential advice on whether the matter should be referred to the UNSW Research Integrity Unit.

You can also make a complaint directly to the Research Integrity Unit at 

Do I have to make a complaint if I have observed someone doing the wrong thing?

Employees and staff are encouraged to report possible breach of the UNSW Research Code of Conduct. UNSW researchers are expected to be committed to high standards of professional conduct in accord with the accepted practice of their disciplines, codes of relevant external funding bodies and legislative requirements. Allowing people to do the wrong thing can have a detrimental impact on the reputation of UNSW and the excellence of research more generally.

Can I remain anonymous if I make a complaint?

The University can receive anonymous complaints; however, it is important to remember that if the University requires additional information before being able to proceed with a preliminary assessment, the University may not be able to contact you and the complaint will not be able to proceed.

Lodging a complaint

If you feel uncomfortable or have tried unsuccessfully to resolve your concerns with the relevant person, Faculty, School or Unit, you can lodge a formal complaint in writing with UNSW Research Integrity at 

Things to keep in mind

Don’t leave it too late - The sooner you lodge a complaint, the quicker the issue may be resolved. Records are more likely to be available and people who were involved are able to explain what happened.

Remain respectful - You might be dissatisfied about something, but please be mindful in communicating your concerns with courtesy and respect. The complaint handlers assigned to your case are there to support you throughout the whole process.

For more information please see the Research Misconduct Procedure

How do I lodge a complaint?

If you would like to make a formal complaint, please email the UNSW Research Integrity Unit at

For more information please see the Research Misconduct Procedure

What happens next?

Once your complaint is received, the Assessment Officer assigned to your case will assess the complaint and may conduct an investigation in accordance with the Research Misconduct Procedure. This is to ensure that the information provided is clear and sufficient. The Assessment Officer may contact you to gather additional information or request further clarification.

How long will this process take?

For urgent and critical complaints, the Assessment Officer assigned to your case will action the concern as soon as possible. 

For non-urgent concerns, the process may take up to 60 working days or more.

Please allow up to 10 working days for acknowledgement of your complaint.

Outcome of Investigation

At the completion of the investigation, all relevant parties including the complainant/s, respondent/s and other related parties (i.e. funding agencies) will be notified of the determination in writing.

I’m dissatisfied with the process or outcome. What can I do?

If you are dissatisfied with the way your complaint was handled, you may request an internal review of the complaint handling process. 
Please contact the Research Integrity Unit for further advice at

For more information please see the Research Misconduct Procedure

Can I escalate this matter externally?

If you are dissatisfied with the outcome or the way your complaint was handled by the University, you can lodge an external review with any of the following agencies.

NSW Ombudsman

Independent Commission Against Corruption

NSW Police Force

Information and Privacy Commission

Australian Research Integrity Committee

Anything else I should know?

Please be aware that the University will not accept complaints which are:

Vexatious or malicious
Trivial in nature
Lacking sufficient information to enable a proper investigation
Too dated or outside of the time limits specified in the applicable UNSW policy or procedure. 

Depending on the type of the concern, the University may deal with a complaint under an alternate UNSW policy or procedure. The University may refer complaints to other organisations or agencies where a complaint falls outside of its scope of responsibility and/or control or where it is lawfully required to do so. UNSW may inform the complainant of any referral.

Additional Resources

Research Integrity Unit
The Research Integrity Unit can provide further information on the complaints process.

Know Your Research Integrity Advisor
Speak with your Research Integrity Advisor, either your faculty Research Integrity Advisor or any other Research Integrity Advisor at UNSW

Student Advocate
For independent advice and advocacy, you can contact: Student Advocate at Arc@UNSW

Postgraduate research students
The Graduate Research School is the central administrative and support unit for all higher degree research students and their supervisors at UNSW.

Personal matters
For Students: Counselling and Psychological Services [CAPS] offers individual counselling and support in helping students to find their way at university.

For Staff: Employee Assistance Program (EAP)

For more information please see the Research Misconduct Procedure

Where can I find the Policies and Procedures?

A list of the Policies and Procedures can be found at here.