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RESEARCH MISCONDUCT Ruth M. Greenblatt. Why talk about this now?  Misconduct can occur in several ways  Your own actions  Work of staff who report.

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Presentation on theme: "RESEARCH MISCONDUCT Ruth M. Greenblatt. Why talk about this now?  Misconduct can occur in several ways  Your own actions  Work of staff who report."— Presentation transcript:


2 Why talk about this now?  Misconduct can occur in several ways  Your own actions  Work of staff who report to you  Related to interactions with other investigators  As you approach independence you need to be aware of the rules and how these problems arise  Misconduct is often not volitional, it may arise when someone is trying to expedite work, or is certain of the results they expect

3 Research Misconduct  Whether these complaints are substantiated or not, the process is difficult for all involved.  Time consuming  Anxiety provoking  Strains relationships  Requires third party investigation  Tends to extend beyond initial issues  Often involves mentees  As witnesses  Initiating complaints/responding to complaints

4 What is research misconduct?  Fabrication (making up data or results)  Falsification (manipulating research resources, or changing or omitting data or results to render the research record inaccurate)  Plagiarism (appropriating another persons ideas, processes, results, or words without giving credit)  Does not include honest error or differences of opinion Pertains to proposing, performing, reviewing or reporting research

5 Negligence  Identifying data errors after publication but submitting a retraction  Using an expired version of informed consent  Dispensing a study drug to someone not enrolled in the study Unintentional but seriously neglectful breaches of accepted research policies and procedures

6 Plagiarism  Most common unethical behavior  Occurs in many forms (appropriating ideas, copying portions of text without credit or quotation marks)  More subtle varieties, while unethical, may not be considered to be misconduct  Can be inadvertent failure to borrow from a source and fail to fully give credit  Tends to result in significant penalties

7 Avoiding Plagiarism  “Always acknowledges the contributions of others and the source of his/her ideas  Any text taken from another author must be enclosed in quotation marks (avoid the mosaic)  Always acknowledge every source that we use in our writing, whether it is paraphrased, summarized, or enclosed in quotations  When paraphrasing or summarizing others’ work we must reproduce the exact meaning of the other author’s ideas or facts  When in doubt, use a citation”

8 Self Plagiarism  Misleads the reader because the reader has reason to assume the material you write is new  Redundant and duplicative papers Can be acceptable Can include presentations of data  Salami slicing – data fragmentation  Copyright infringement  Text recycling Few guidelines Can be tempting in presenting complex methods Can lead to publication of inaccurate methods

9 Misconduct involving scientific mentors and mentees  Often arise after an extended period of dispute or strain  Often results from poor communication among the parties  Can result from misunderstanding on the part of early career investigators concerning:  autonomy  conventions of authorship  conventions regarding credit and intellectual property  Often arise when best practices in team conduct are not followed  Can extend to involve multiple individuals

10 Trans Mentoring  Should be a great aid in avoiding misconduct episodes and complaints.  Your mentor:  Can dispel erroneous assumptions regarding autonomy and rights  Can promote effective communication even with difficult senior collaborators  Can identify significant problems early in process  Can help mentees to appropriately cope with complaints and grievances

11 Points to clarify  Role of PI-  Responsibilities Fiscal Scientific direction  Expectations of credit  Authorship Corresponding author: should be person with stable address Order of authorship: should be discussed openly early in the process

12 When disputes occur  Parties should avoid involving lab bystanders in casual conversation and gossip about these issues  Seek appropriate advice  Need to address issues with senior mentor  Involving bystanders can complicate situation and harden positions  Also give context  Some disputes in scientific collaborations are common and usually are resolved with good communication  The great majority of scientists are reasonable and ethical, actual misconduct is not common

13 Workplace conduct issues  Expression of anger can cross lines of acceptable conduct  Shouting, singling individuals out, pointing can be violations of the UC code of conduct on the part of mentor or mentee  Cursing, threatening or seeking to identify the origin of complaints is also unacceptable behavior  Concerned persons should seek appropriate help  Problem resolution center  Academic affairs office  VA and GIVI resources

14 Vulnerable Settings  Hot findings  New initiatives  Especially when one party has much more experience than the others.  Disengaged PI  Language/cultural differences within lab or between mentor and mentee  When problems have occurred in past  When family members are collaborators  New PIs

15 Suspicion of Research Misconduct  Plagiarism, falsification, fabrication  Not authorship disputes  Report to RIO immediately, do NOT try to resolve or even mention suspicion  Sequestration of lab books, computer, etc  Assessment by RIO  Inquiry by administrator  Investigation by ad hoc committee  Imposition of discipline  Report to ORI/other agencies

16 Case Example A  A complaint of research misconduct is received from a postdoc concerning inappropriate use of grant funds  Funding from Project A was used to support Project B and to support PI travel that was not necessary for the research  Background  Postdoctoral fellow had been long frustrated by lack of support for his own research projects, and was looking for job with fewer publications than he had hoped for, disputes had also occurred regarding who the corresponding author on the papers should be;  PI felt that the postdoc had done well, productivity had been hampered by technical issues, and was unaware of the extent of postdoc’s concern  Postdoc also felt that PI had not been as supportive in job search as he could have been, and enrolled other lab staff in effort to review budgets and expenditures.

17 Case Example A Outcome  Outcome  Postdoctoral fellow is granted whistle blower status, but eventually decided that academics was too difficult a work environment for him.  PI was forced to return funding for Project A using his entire unrestricted funding to cover the costs, resulting in cessation of other projects and support for several graduate students.

18 Case A  Could anything have been done to achieve a better result, and if so what and when?  Communication about the career plan and productivity  Communication about the job search

19 Case Example B  An early career faculty member submitted a complaint that his prior mentor (PI) committed research misconduct and workplace misconduct:  One grievant complained that the mentor had used material he published previously (without the PIs name as author), word-for-word and without the grievant’s consent (he was listed as coauthor).  A graduate student in the same laboratory supported this complaint and noted that the PI raised his voice, used derogatory language and pointed his finger at her in the workplace.

20 Example B Background  Other students and faculty who know PI were said to report this kind of misconduct happens all the time.  The faculty member had previously been required to take supervisory and anger management training.  The work that was reported in both papers was completed in the PI’s laboratory using grant funding that he obtained, but he was less involved in leading this work, which was an offshoot of the original project, than was his routine practice.  The PI reported that he was not aware the grievant had submitted this paper, and that he was simply completing what he had thought was an unfinished manuscript.

21 Case B Continued  The issues were discussed widely within the laboratory when the PI was away, and the entire research team became embroiled.  The grievants shared comments made by academic leaders and other faculty with the research group.  The grievants obtained copies of correspondence that indicated that the PI was aware of the first publication, including collection of material from deleted computer files.

22 Case B Outcome  The PI was forced to retract his publication.  The PI was found to have violated the UCSF code of conduct.  Since the dispute became public within the department, the grievants also were perceived by some to have transgressed appropriate conduct and to have acted to falsely tarnish the reputation of the PI and his contributions to the research.

23 Case B  Could anything have been done to achieve a better result, and if so what and when?  The paper  Discretion about the complaint

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