Science guidelines for researchers

Please ensure you adhere to these guidelines when delivering your project to FRDC.

Ensuring the quality of scientific information used to manage Australia’s fisheries and marine ecosystems is important in earning the trust of stakeholders and the community in the decision-making process.

These guidelines are intended to apply to all stages of the research process, including research planning processes and the appropriateness of the proposed methodology, to ensure the reliability and objectivity of resulting scientific information.


Australian guidelines

Research and Science Information Guidelines for Australian Fisheries outlines what constitutes best-practice, high-quality and reliable scientific information.


PRIOR principles

The quality of research and scientific information relates primarily to relevance, reliability, objectivity and integrity, and the internationally accepted mechanism for evaluating this is peer review.

The Australian guidelines are built around these ‘PRIOR’ principles:

Peer review - the work has been evaluated by one or more experts in the appropriate field.

Reliability- the information is accurate and reproducible.

Integrity the information is protected from inappropriate alteration, selective interpretation or presentation, including with regard to uncertainty in that information. Scientific information should remain complete throughout the science-to-decision process.

Objectivitythe information presented is impartial and free of personal bias.

Relevance - research and scientific information must be relevant to the fisheries management objectives and associated key questions for the fishery concerned, contributing directly to answering those questions and addressing management objectives for that fishery.


Roles and responsibilities

Meeting the requirements of these guidelines will primarily be the responsibility of those who “buy research” (research purchasers) and those who “supply the research” (research providers). These two roles may rest within the single organisation (buying and doing by different areas), or under separate organisations.


Responsibilities of research purchasers

  • Establish, maintain or support appropriate quality assurance and peer review processes, and ensure that research and scientific information is subjected to effective peer review against the provisions of these guidelines; 
  • Ensure that research proposals are evaluated against the requirements for research and scientific information quality, established by these guidelines relating to relevance, project design and proposed methodology;
  • Where necessary to ensure the quality of scientific information produced by substantial or complex projects, provide for staged technical guidance or peer review at appropriate stages in the project, ensuring that such guidance is appropriate to the cost, novelty, complexity or contentiousness of research and scientific information;
  • Ensure that research providers comply with relevant provisions of these guidelines;
  • Require research providers to establish, maintain or support databases to manage and securely store any raw data sets and final data sets, analyses and research reports, to enable subsequent verification of the repeatability and reliability of the results.


Responsibilities of research providers

  • Qualifications and capabilities
  • Project management and quality management
  • Data management and provision
  • Certification of laboratories and equipment
  • Data collection
  • Data analysis and synthesis
  • Experimental studies
  • Technical protocols
  • Internal and external peer review
  • Research reports