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Research Administration for Scientists Tim Quigg, Associate Chair and Lecturer Computer Science Department, UNC-Chapel Hill Research Ethics: Misconduct.

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Presentation on theme: "Research Administration for Scientists Tim Quigg, Associate Chair and Lecturer Computer Science Department, UNC-Chapel Hill Research Ethics: Misconduct."— Presentation transcript:

1 Research Administration for Scientists Tim Quigg, Associate Chair and Lecturer Computer Science Department, UNC-Chapel Hill Research Ethics: Misconduct in Science, Data Ownership, Authorship, Peer Review, Whistleblowers! COMP 918: Research Administration for Scientists © Copyright 2012 Timothy L. Quigg All Rights Reserved

2 Research Administration for Scientists Science is a community based on Trust!

3 Research Administration for Scientists science will be done honestly Most Americans see strong science as essential to a successful future. Yet that generous social support is based on the premise that science will be done honestly and that mistakes will be routinely identified and corrected. Bruce Alberts, President, National Academy of Sciences,

4 Research Administration for Scientists The right to search for truth implies also a duty; one must not conceal any part of what one has recognized to be true. Albert Einstein - Albert Einstein

5 Research Administration for Scientists the truth shall be told all the time… The only ethical principle which has made science possible is that the truth shall be told all the time… C.P. Snow The Search 1959 Quoted in Honor in Science Quoted in Honor in Science

6 Research Administration for Scientists Three Important Themes in Science! Trust Trust Truth-telling Truth-telling Ethics Ethics

7 Research Administration for Scientists Ethics: What is it? Ethics: What is it? 1.A set of principles for right conduct. 2.The formal rules and standards governing the conduct of an individual or the members of a profession. 3.Expected behavior consistent with the principles and rules!

8 Research Administration for Scientists Scientific Fraud and Misconduct Frequency Over the Past 10 Years

9 Research Administration for Scientists Federal Definition Research Misconduct: Fabrication, falsification, or plagiarism in proposing, performing, or reviewing research or in reporting research results is research misconduct. It does not include honest error or differences of opinion.

10 Research Administration for Scientists Federal Definition Research Misconduct: Fabrication, falsification, or plagiarism in proposing, performing, or reviewing research or in reporting research results is research misconduct. It does not include honest error or differences of opinion. making up data or results and then either recording or reporting them!

11 Research Administration for Scientists Federal Definition Research Misconduct: Fabrication, falsification, or plagiarism in proposing, performing, or reviewing research or in reporting research results is research misconduct. It does not include honest error or differences of opinion. manipulating research materials, equipment, or processes, or changing or omitting data or results such that the research is not accurately represented in the research record.

12 Research Administration for Scientists Federal Definition Research Misconduct: Fabrication, falsification, or plagiarism in proposing, performing, or reviewing research or in reporting research results is research misconduct. It does not include honest error or differences of opinion. the appropriation of another persons ideas, processes, results, or words without giving appropriate credit.

13 Federal Definition Research Misconduct: Fabrication, falsification, or plagiarism in proposing, performing, or reviewing research or in reporting research results is research misconduct. It does not include honest error or differences of opinion. Universities have primary responsibility for the prevention and detection of research misconduct and for the inquiry and investigation of alleged research misconduct!

14 Research Administration for Scientists Universities have developed systems to monitor and manage compliance at both the individual and the institutional levels! Institutional Compliance Compliance Officers reporting directly to the Chancellor have become widespread!

15 Proper fiscal management of public funds Protection of human and animal research subjects Proper use and disposal of hazardous materials Strict adherence to the scientific method (and telling all the truth) to produce valid knowledge Institutional Compliance Systems involve training, monitoring and evaluation of all aspects of research compliance

16 Research Administration for Scientists Importance of the Laboratory Notebook! All the information on an experiments design and execution The original data (preferably as the raw data output) Calculations and data reductions Conclusions and interpretations A bias toward paper over electronic remains Should be signed, dated (and witnessed)! The laboratory notebook (real or virtual) is still the gold standard and final authority on data collection, manipulation, and presentation and must contain:

17 It Depends! If created under a sponsored research agreement, check the data rights clause – data may be owned by sponsor. Remember, Agreements are between the university and the funding agency in the name of a PI - the university may have obligations to deliver data, thus the university may own data. Always check the universitys data rights policy. Who Owns Data? PI, Institution or Funding Agency?

18 Research Administration for Scientists Case Study: Data Owne Case Study: Data Ownership A graduate student has just defended her dissertation and is leaving for a post doctoral position. While packing up her office she is informed by her mentor that she may not remove the laboratory notebooks which contain the research data.

19 Research Administration for Scientists Who do you think owns the research data? Should the student have been allowed to take the results of her labors? How about a copy? Would your view be different if the student was going to a competitors laboratory?

20 Research Administration for Scientists Case Study: Fabrication Case Study: Fabrication You believe the work of a fellow student is forged. The data are too clean, the student isnt in the lab enough to support the amount of data generated, and insufficient reagents are being consumed to justify the amount of data.

21 Research Administration for Scientists Is there enough evidence to allege data fabrication? Lets say you report your suspicions to the PI and are simply told to mind your own business, what would you do? When have you adequately fulfilled your ethical responsibilities?

22 Research Administration for Scientists Case Study: Falsification-1 Case Study: Falsification-1 You are a junior member of a research team using an autoanalyzer to test the effects of radioprotective agents on prostaglandin production. Only six of the ten assays demonstrate protection. The senior researcher (not PI) suggests the lack of observed response was due to equipment failure.

23 Research Administration for Scientists Is this assessment valid? Should it be accepted, rejected or questioned? How might this assessment be tested? If the ambiguity persists, how should you proceed? Is leaving full responsibility with the senior person enough?

24 Research Administration for Scientists Case Study: Falsification-2 Case Study: Falsification-2 You prepare a scatter-graph that demonstrates a time-dependent effect. Unfortunately, several points do not closely follow the relationship. Your advisor suggests dropping the lowest points because the cells were obviously dead and the highest point because it is an obvious outlier.

25 Research Administration for Scientists Is the suggested method for determining which points to exclude acceptable? How would you approach your advisor when facing an issue pertaining to proper ethical behavior? What other course(s) of action are open to you in this situation?

26 Research Administration for Scientists Case Study: Plagiarism Case Study: Plagiarism You are reviewing a paper for a journal and recognize a significant portion of the text. After checking, you confirm that the paper indeed incorporates entire passages from other works (without attribution).

27 Would you consider dropping the issue if the author apologized and explained it was an unintended oversight? How about if the author was a first year graduate student with little experience? How about if the author was from a country with different standards about citations? What Action Would You Take?

28 Authorship Authorship Authorship of a scientific paper should be limited to those individuals who have contributed directly to the design and execution of the experiments and/or who have participated in the preparation of the manuscript. Note: While some variation exists among disciplines, these rules still generally apply!

29 Research Administration for Scientists Case Study: Authorship Case Study: Authorship A paper is being prepared concerning the metabolism of sulfites. Which of the following should be included as authors? –Toxicologist who provided previously published information on animal models. –Wildlife specialist who provided information on breeding mice. –Technician who helped develop assay and wrote the methods section. –Another scientist who helped design experiments and edited the final draft.

30 Research Administration for Scientists Peer review Peer review is the process whereby scientists evaluate their colleagues grant applicants for funding and scientific papers for publication. Fairness and Confidentiality! The two standards that must always be observed:

31 Research Administration for Scientists Case Study: Peer Review Case Study: Peer Review An investigator (who is both a faculty member and a consultant to a biotech company) serves on an NIH study section. He reviews a grant which contains information demonstrating that his current work (both academic and corporate) is headed down a blind alley.

32 Research Administration for Scientists How should the investigator proceed? What issues of confidentiality and conflict of interest are involved? How might this situation have been avoided?

33 Research Administration for Scientists False Claims Act: Whistleblowers A good faith allegation is made with the honest belief that research misconduct may have occurred. An allegation is not in good faith if it is made with reckless disregard for or willful ignorance of facts that would disprove the allegation.

34 Research Administration for Scientists Qui Tam provisions of the False Claims Act Who sues on behalf of the King as well as for himself Allows private parties to sue entities and individuals that have submitted false claims to the federal government Can receive a portion of the settlement if the government receives a monetary agreement with the defendant

35 Research Administration for Scientists Qui Tam provisions of the False Claims Act Allows any person with actual knowledge of allegedly false claims to the government to file a lawsuit on behalf of the U.S. government. Such persons are referred to as relators. Individuals seeking whistleblower status must meet several criteria to prevail.

36 Research Administration for Scientists False Claims Act Recovery In 2008, federal government recovered approximately $1.3 billion; 90% of recovery came from health care industry, including pharmaceutical companies; For 2009, Congress allocated an additional $25 million to combat fraud and abuse in Medicaid Program alone.

37 Research Administration for Scientists University of Georgia FCA C ase The 2006 suit charged researchers and faculty at the University of Georgia with violations of the False Claims Act for receiving more than $1 million in federal grants from the EPA based on published research using allegedly manipulated data that discounted the toxicity of sewage sludge;

38 Research Administration for Scientists University of Georgia FCA C ase The suit was filed by the U.S. government on behalf of qui tam (whistle-blower) plaintiffs David L. Lewis, an adjunct senior research scientist at UGA and a former microbiologist at the Environmental Protection Agency, and two farming families that contend the sludge killed their cattle and contained harmful chemicals;

39 Research Administration for Scientists University of Georgia FCA C ase The suit alleged that sludge samples were not included from farms that reported animal deaths and were taken only during drought periods when toxin levels would be lowest. It also charged that the researchers "knowingly used false statements and fabricated scientific data to obtain federal funds in violation of the False Claims Act." Case still in litigation!

40 Research Administration for Scientists St. Louis University FCA Case The suit was brought by whistleblower and former Dean, Andrew Balas who alleged the SLU School of Public Health overstated time spent by faculty members on CDC grants, resulting in overpayment of supplemental income. The Investigation indicated that other NIH and HUD grants were also charged for these phantom faculty work hours resulting in similar overpayments.

41 Research Administration for Scientists St. Louis University FCA Case SLUs defense: They had made a good faith effort to comply with highly complicated cost accounting principles governed by regulations that are hundreds of pages long. Any mistakes made were simply unintentional mistakes! SLU settled this False Claims Act suit for $1 million. Whistleblower received share ($190,000) of recovery !

42 Research Administration for Scientists Weill Medical College Cornell Weill Medical College Cornell FCA Case (Whistleblower was a senior administrative assistant to PI; worked at Cornell for 11 years, resigned in 02; filed suit in April 2004) Lawsuit alleged that PI misrepresented which researchers were working on particular grants; misapplied and fraudulently accounted for grant funds; falsified data from research; and submitted same projects multiple times even if funded by other grants

43 Research Administration for Scientists Weill Medical College Cornell Weill Medical College Cornell FCA Case (Whistleblower was a senior administrative assistant to PI; worked at Cornell for 11 years, resigned in 02; filed suit in April 2004) Lawsuit alleged that PI misrepresented which researchers were working on particular grants; misapplied and fraudulently accounted for grant funds; falsified data from research; and submitted same projects multiple times even if funded by other grants

44 Research Administration for Scientists Weill Medical College Cornell Weill Medical College Cornell FCA Case (Whistleblower was a senior administrative assistant to PI; worked at Cornell for 11 years, resigned in 02; filed suit in April 2004) Lawsuit alleged that PI misrepresented which researchers were working on particular grants; misapplied and fraudulently accounted for grant funds; falsified data from research; and submitted same projects multiple times even if funded by other grants

45 Research Administration for Scientists Weill Medical College Cornell Weill Medical College Cornell FCA Case (Whistleblower was a senior administrative assistant to PI; worked at Cornell for 11 years, resigned in 02; filed suit in April 2004) Lawsuit alleged that PI misrepresented which researchers were working on particular grants; misapplied and fraudulently accounted for grant funds; falsified data from research; and submitted same projects multiple times even if funded by other grants $2.6 million Settlement!

46 Research Administration for Scientists Yale University Yale University FCA Case Yale researchers allegedly spent down remaining grant funds near the expiration dates via cost transfers that were deemed not allocable (costs that relate to the specific objectives of the specific project). Federal regulations require that unspent grant funds be returned to the government.

47 Research Administration for Scientists Yale University Yale University FCA Case $7.6 million final settlement ($3.8 million actual damages plus $3.8 million punitive damages). No criminal charges, no admission of liability, government acknowledged Yales cooperation and ongoing reform efforts. Cost of consulting and legal fees likely exceeded cost of settlement!

48 Research Administration for Scientists Selected University Settlements Revealed via Qui Tam (Whistleblower): Northwestern- $5.5 M (Feb, 2003) Johns Hopkins - $2.6 M (Feb, 2004) Univ. Alabama-Birm- $3.4 M (Apr, 2005) Cornell- $4.4 M (Jun, 2005) Univ. Connecticut- $2.5M (Jan, 2006) Revealed via voluntary disclosure: Harvard- $2.4 M (June 2004) All involved overstatement of effort on NIH grants!

49 Research Administration for Scientists Physician Scientist Dr. E. Coli 2 NIH grants 25% effort) 3 days/week in clinic Directs Infectious Diseases medical curriculum Lectures to medical students three times per week, and Serves on the institutional promotion and tenure committee. Case Study: Effort Reporting

50 Research Administration for Scientists Is there a potential problem with this investigators time commitment? How might he manage this?

51 Research Administration for Scientists Federal Investigative Offices: Office of Research Integrity in the DHHS, promotes integrity in biomedical and behavioral research supported by PHS. ORI monitors institutional investigations of research misconduct (www.ori.hhs.gov)www.ori.hhs.gov Office of the Inspector General in the NSF is responsible for preventing, detecting, and handling cases involving research misconduct (www.nsf.gov/oig)www.nsf.gov/oig

52 Research Administration for Scientists Reports to the Office of Research Integrity (ORI) or OIG of NSF Inquiry Inquiry: information gathering and initial fact-finding to determine whether an allegation warrants an investigation (usually up to 60 days) Investigation: Investigation: the formal examination and evaluation of all relevant facts to determine if misconduct has occurred (usually up to 120 days)


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