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Protocols for Research

The following research protocols are guided by principles set by the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies Guidelines for Ethical Research in Australian Indigenous Studies and United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and have been expanded on to consider Mithaka rights, interests and cultural governance systems.

These protocols will ensure cultural approval for any research regarding Mithaka Traditional Knowledge, develop trust between research parties, and ensure effective partnerships as they are manifested through research accountable processes, clearly communicated actions, and active relationships. Any research that formally recognises these protocols and principles through a Research Agreement with Mithaka Aboriginal Corporation will have the endorsed support of Mithaka Traditional Owners.

Research Agreement

As part of Mithaka Aboriginal Corporation’s research process, a Research Agreement and supporting work plans will accompany all research work between Mithaka Traditional Owners and their research partners. This will provide a formal agreement and shared understanding of proposed research, and act as the ‘action plan’ that demonstrates free, prior and informed consent for research processes with Mithaka. It will also provide an opportunity for non-Mithaka researchers to understand Mithaka rights, interests and knowledge systems relating to the research area.

For any research proposal to be validated and endorsed by MAC, it must also address the following key criteria:

  • details of research work undertakings, roles, contributions, obligations, expectations, aspirations and commitments by all parties involved;
  • details of information management and communication processes including monitoring, storing, recording and reporting results, and the production of material for public information;
  • actions to support and contribute to Traditional Owner research capacity;
  • follow requirements as stipulated through State and Federal legislation;
  • follow the AIATSIS Guidelines for Ethical Research in Australian Indigenous Studies;
  • confirm recognition of Intellectual Property and ethics clearances from a recognised research institution;
  • establish processes for probationary periods for new partnerships, conflict resolution, breaches, confidentiality, project governance and other general agreements made between parties;
  • plan reviews and performance indicators to communicate and assess research progress;
  • address the legacy of research work, including the long-term economic, social, cultural and environmental benefits for Mithaka People and community; and
  • researchers participate in understanding cultural and natural heritage, which may include cultural induction or exchange processes.
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