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Core Areas

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  1. Data Acquisition, Management, Sharing and Ownership
  2. Conflict of Interest and Commitment
  3. Human Subjects
  4. Animal Welfare
  5. Research Misconduct
  6. Publication Practices and Responsible Authorship
  7. Mentor/Trainee Responsibilities
  8. Peer Review
  9. Collaborative Science

  1. Data Acquisition, Management, Sharing and Ownership

    “Data management practices are becoming increasingly complex and should be addressed before any data are collected by taking into consideration four important issues:
    • ownership,
    • collection,
    • storage, and
    • sharing.
    The integrity of data and, by implication, the usefulness of the research it supports, depends on careful attention to detail, from initial planning through final publication.” (Steneck 2009, 87)

    View two short videos demonstrating data management issues:

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  2. Conflict of Interest and Commitment

    “Researchers work hard, often spending long hours and sometimes weekends in the laboratory, library, or at professional meetings. Their motivation for working hard stems from many source. Research:
    • advances knowledge,
    • leads to discoveries that will benefit individuals and society,
    • furthers professional advancement, and/or
    • results in personal gain and satisfaction.
    Each of these incentives or interests is commonly recognized as responsible and justifiable. Researchers’ interests can and often do conflict with one another. The advancement of knowledge is usually best served by sharing ideas with colleagues, putting many minds to work on the same problem. But personal gain is sometimes best served by keeping ideas to oneself until they are fully developed and then protected through patents, copyrights, or publications. Legitimate research interests can create competing responsibilities and lead to what is commonly called conflicts of interest.” (Steneck 2009, 67-68)

    WVU’s policy on conflicts of interest is located at Conflict of Interest in Research and view two short videos demonstrating conflicts of interest:

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  3. Human Subjects

    “Investigators who conduct research involving humans that is subject to regulation must comply with all relevant Federal regulations as well as any applicable state and local laws, regulations, and policies related to the protection of human subjects. They are also expected to follow other relevant codes that have been formulated by professional groups. To meet these responsibilities requires, among other things:
    • knowing what research is subject to regulation,
    • understanding and following the rules for project approval,
    • getting appropriate training, and
    • accepting continuing responsibility for compliance through all stages of a project.
    If you expect to us or study living humans in your research, no matter how harmless that use may seem, and receive Federal funding, familiarize yourself with your responsibilities and check with someone in a position of authority before making any contacts or undertaking any work.” (Steneck 2009, 35-36)
    To view WVU’s Standard Operating Procedures pertaining to Human Subjects Research at IRB Policies.

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  4. Animal Welfare

    “The special needs of animals have evolved over time into policies for the appropriate care and use of all animals involved in research, research training, and biological testing activities. Researchers can meet their responsibilities by:
    • knowing what activities are subject to regulation,
    • understanding and following the rules for project approval,
    • obtaining appropriate training, and
    • accepting continuing responsibility for compliance through all stages of a project.
    If you expect to use or study living animals in your research, regardless of the level of invasiveness, familiarize yourself with your responsibilities and check with someone in a position of authority before making any plans or undertaking any work.” (Steneck 2009, 51-52)
    You can view WVU’s policies on animal care and use at IACUC Policies.

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  5. Research Misconduct

    “Research misconduct policies provide guidance on responsible conduct in three areas. They:
    • establish definitions for misconduct in research,
    • outline procedures for reporting and investigating misconduct, and
    • provide protection for whistleblowers (persons who report misconduct) and persons accused of misconduct.
    Together, the definitions of and procedures for handling allegations of misconduct in research form an initial foundation for effective self-regulation in research.” (Steneck 2009, 19)
    Two short videos demonstrating situations involving research misconduct:

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  6. Publication Practices and Responsible Authorship

    “Whether structured or informal, controlled or free ranging, responsible publication in research should ideally meet some minimum standards. All forms of publication should present:
    • a full and fair description of the work undertaken,
    • an accurate report of the results, and
    • an honest and open assessment of the findings.
    In assessing the completeness of any publications, researchers should ask whether they have described:
    • what they did (methods),
    • what they discovered (results), and
    • what they make of their discovery (discussion).
    It is, however, not easy as one might anticipate to meet these expectations.” (Steneck 2009, 133-134)
    You can view two short videos demonstrating authorship concerns:

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  7. Mentor/Trainee Responsibilities

    “The essential elements of a productive mentor-trainee relationship are difficult to codify into rules or guidelines, leaving most of the decisions about responsible mentoring to the individuals involved. Common sense suggests that good mentoring should begin with:
    • a clear understanding of mutual responsibilities,
    • a commitment to maintain a productive and supportive research environment,
    • proper supervision and review, and
    • an understanding that the main purpose of the relationship is to prepare trainees to become successful researchers.
    Understanding and agreements, however, will account for little if they are not backed up by firm commitments to make a relationship work.” (Steneck 2009, 103-104)
    You can view two brief videos illustrating conflicts involving mentorship:

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  8. Peer Review

    “Peer review – evaluation by colleagues with similar knowledge and experience – is an essential component of research and the self-regulation of professions. The average person does not have the knowledge and experience needed to assess the quality and importance of research. Peers do. Therefore many important decisions about research depend on advice from peers, including:
    • which projects to fund (grant reviews),
    • which research findings to publish (manuscript reviews),
    • which scholars to hire and promote (personnel reviews), and
    • which research is reliable (literature reviews and expert testimony).
    The quality of the decisions made in each case depends heavily on the quality of peer review.” (Steneck 2009, 147)
    You can view two brief videos illustrating issues arising in peer review:

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  9. Collaborative Science

    “In collaborative projects, researchers continue to have the responsibilities discussed” under the other areas of responsible conduct of research, “but they assume some additional responsibilities from collaborative relationships. These additional responsibilities arise from the added burdens of:
    • the increasingly complex roles and relationships;
    • common, but not necessarily identical, interests;
    • management requirements; and
    • cultural differences
    These are inherent in any large project but especially in collaborative projects. Special attention to these added burdens can help keep collaborative projects running smoothly.” (Steneck 2009, 117-118)
    Two brief videos illustrating issues while collaborating:

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Steneck, Nicholas H. 2009. ORI: Introduction to the Responsible Conduct of Research. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office