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Responsible Conduct of Research Policy and Training Plan

Research at Lewis & Clark College
 Lewis & Clark College is committed to the highest standards of excellence and integrity in all research and scholarly endeavors.  Staff, faculty, and students involved in research should have adequate training in the responsible conduct of research and scientific ethics.  In addition to the technical and fiscal management of sponsored projects, Principal Investigators (PIs) are obligated to use all resources effectively and efficiently, and are responsible for the direction of research and scholarly activities and the training of students, laboratory staff, and postdoctoral scholars. This includes introducing students and lab members to the appropriate standards of the Responsible Conduct of Research and ensuring compliance with institutional policy, federal and state regulations, guidelines, and sponsor requirements. 

Why is the Responsible Conduct of Research important?
 To maintain confidence and trust in academic research, researchers must protect the empirical objectivity of research, the unbiased reporting of results, and the open sharing of information. On August 9, 2007, Public Law 100-69, otherwise known as the AMERICA COMPETES ACT was passed.  Section 7009 specifically addresses the Responsible Conduct of Research and reads as follows:

The [NSF] Director shall require that each institution that applies for financial assistance from the Foundation for science and engineering research or education describe in its grant proposal a plan to provide appropriate training and oversight in the responsible and ethical conduct of research to undergraduate students, graduate students, and postdoctoral researchers participating in the proposed research project. 

Although issues can vary slightly depending on the academic discipline and individual program of research, topics that fall under the broader topic of “research integrity” include the following:

  • environmental health & safety
  • use and protection of human subjects and lab animals
  • safe and responsible use of biological materials
  • conflicts of interest – financial and otherwise
  • publication, intellectual property and data management
  • error, negligence or misconduct
  • fabrication, falsification, and/or plagiarism
  • response to violations of ethical standards
  • responsible authorship
  • mentor/trainee relationships
  • peer review
  • collaborative science

What are we doing about it?
 The College of Arts & Sciences has developed a plan to provide appropriate training and oversight in the responsible and ethical conduct of research.  It applies to all individuals who participate in research, regardless of the source of support. This includes faculty members, undergraduate students, postdoctoral researchers, and staff whose research is supported with internal or external funds; all will complete educational training in issues surrounding research integrity before conducting research.  With support from Lewis & Clark College’s Research Integrity Officer (RIO) and the Sponsored Research Office, this program is administered by the Executive Assistant to VP, Secretary, and General Counsel.  The following components are included:  

1. Teaching and Training

Discussions of the responsible conduct of research are regularly woven into class instruction, and first year seminars typically address plagiarism.   As part of their registration process every first year student at Lewis& Clark is required to review and agree to our Academic Integrity Policy, which is submitted online after completing a tutorial (both available at: http://www.lclark.edu/college/programs/exploration_and_discovery/student_resources/academic_integrity/).  Once students complete the tutorial it is automatically submitted to the Office of Core Curriculum at the College.  Students are reminded to complete the tutorial prior to arriving on campus, and the list of those who have completed it is maintained by the Associate Dean of Students.

In addition, many departments have their own customized introductions to the principles of responsible research that ground every discipline at the College.

For example, the Biology department has an “Honesty in Science” information sheet available at: http://www.lclark.edu/live/files/473. All biology majors are exposed to this information in Bio 141, and faculty members refer to this document in the syllabi of other courses.

In addition, CAS psychology courses such as the 300-level Psychology Methodology course require students to follow ethical guidelines and learn Institutional Review Board procedures when they conduct their own research projects. By the time students take senior-level courses, they are expected to reason and act morally in both classroom and “real-world” situations. In Psy 445 (Psychology Internship), for example, students read the American Psychological Association’s code of ethics and apply it to various scenarios in class and to their internships at social service agencies.

All students and faculty conducting research involving human subjects or animals are required to learn and abide by relevant practices related to the protection of human subjects and the ethical treatment of animals used in research.  Any member of the Lewis & Clark community (faculty, students, and/or staff) planning to conduct research using human participants must have that research reviewed and approved by the Human Subjects Research Committee (http://www.lclark.edu/committees/human_subjects_research/). This requirement applies to all research involving human subjects, whether this research is externally funded or not. Student projects such as independent study and senior thesis projects involving human participants must also be reviewed by the committee unless clearly exempt.

Our Human Subjects committee reviews all research proposals involving human subjects to ensure compliance with human subjects’ protocol and adherence to professional ethical standards.

The Lewis & Clark Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) reviews all research protocols involving vertebrate animals to ensure compliance with guidelines and professional ethical standards. http://www.lclark.edu/college/offices/sponsored_research/internal_resources/iacuc.php.

Lewis & Clark’s Institutional Biosafety Committee reviews all research involving recombinant DNA; more information is available at:  http://www.lclark.edu/offices/human_resources/employee_resources/policies/institutional/general/recombinant_dna/

As part of our institutional support for the discussion of ethical issues in the conduct of research, the CAS Sponsored Research Office distributes the publication On Being a Scientist: A Guide to Responsible Conduct in Research (Third edition) to Department chairs and principal investigators in the sciences at College of Arts & Sciences. The Research Integrity Officer will facilitate an annual responsible conduct of research workshop on campus, to which all will be welcome and invited. This workshop will supplement the designated online training tools.

2. Completion of web-based protocols

In addition, we have established the following specific training expectations for faculty members, staff, and students involved in scientific and social scientific research involving human subjects on campus, with a procedure for accountability. 

A. Lewis & Clark College requires that each individual involved in scientific and social science research described above (including faculty members, undergraduate students, postdoctoral researchers, and laboratory staff) complete and pass a designated online training course. Each individual must provide certification of completion to the RCR Administrator within two weeks of beginning research.  Online training materials can be accessed at this site:

http://college.lclark.edu/offices/sponsored_research/policies/

B. The faculty mentor will provide the RCR administrator with a list of participants  prior to the start of each term (fall semester, spring semester, and summer break) and/or when a new individual joins his/her laboratory. Questions should be discussed with the RIO. Faculty mentors must complete the same training course(s) and requirements as those specified for other individuals (e.g. students and postdocs) in their lab.

C. At their discretion, the faculty mentor may require completion of additional online RCR training modules.

Evidence of Training
 Evidence of training for new team members should be provided for each research period that new team members join the lab (fall semester, spring semester, summer research). The RCR Administrator will track completion of training modules. Once certification is complete, the Business Office will be notified so that a new grant account can be established and/or wages/funds can be released from the applicable budget in support of the research. Certification is valid for four (4) years.

The PI is responsible for making sure his or her team complies with training protocols.  The RCR administrator will keep institutional records, and if necessary, provide the PI with periodic updates regarding the compliance status for those under their mentorship.

The CAS Sponsored Research Office uses an “Internal Policy Review Form”, which PIs must complete prior to grant application submission. This form includes a question about the Responsible Conduct of Research, which reminds PIs of this policy, including the requirement to register and assign training modules to researchers under their guidance, and of the consequences for non-compliance.

3. Consequences of Not Completing Required Training

A new grant account will not be established until the PI has submitted certification that s/he has successfully completed the course.  A researcher – whether the PI, a postdoctoral scholar, or a student – will not receive compensation from the grant—regardless of the source of support—until s/he has successfully completed the course and submitted the appropriate certification. Faculty members will be reminded of this requirement on an annual basis.

4. Comments?

Feedback on this policy and the designated online training modules will be greatly appreciated and will lead to improvements. Please submit any written comments to the College’s Research Integrity Officer, who is the Associate Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences.

Internal relevant policies and resources:

Financial Conflict of Interest: http://www.lclark.edu/offices/human_resources/employee_resources/policies/institutional/general/grant_conflict_of_interest/

Conflict of Interest: http://legacy.lclark.edu/dept/hrpolicy/conflict.html

Possible Misconduct in Research: http://legacy.lclark.edu/org/handbook/4-2-6.html

Intellectual Property Rights Policy: http://www.lclark.edu/offices/human_resources/employee_resources/policies/institutional/general/intellectual_property/

Research involving Human Subjects: http://www.lclark.edu/committees/human_subjects_research/

Research involving Recombinant DNA: http://www.lclark.edu/offices/human_resources/employee_resources/policies/institutional/general/recombinant_dna/
 Research involving Animals: http://legacy.lclark.edu/dept/sponsres/iacuc.html

Lewis & Clark’s Office of Research and Assessment: http://legacy.lclark.edu/org/assess/

Lewis & Clark’s CAS Sponsored Research Office: http://legacy.lclark.edu/dept/sponsres/

External resources - there are many resources available regarding the Responsible Conduct of Research:

Opportunities Abound for Promoting RCR Education: http://www.hhs.gov/news/factsheet/integrity.html

NIH – Training in the Responsible Conduct of Research resources: http://grants.nih.gov/training/responsibleconduct.htm

Guidelines for the conduct of research within the Public Health Service:
http://ori.hhs.gov/documents/guide_conduct_research.pdf

National Academy of Sciences et al., On Being a Scientist: A Guide to Responsible Conduct of Research Third Edition, 2009

 

Approved by Executive Council April 7, 2010

Revised and Approved by Executive Council, September 21, 2011

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