Responsible Conduct of Research

UTHSC and its Colleges firmly believe that all individual research and training should be held to the highest possible ethical standards. As such, all postdoctoral fellows engaging in research must complete instruction in the responsible conduct of research. This takes two forms. The first is online Citi Training, which is required of all postdoctoral fellows who matriculate in the UTHSC system. The second is a seminar course that is required for all postdoctoral fellows but is tailored to their individual needs. Fellows must complete these requirements in their first year of training and then repeat the training at least every four years if applicable.

Citi Training

All postdoctoral fellows must complete 6 online modules from the online course center www.citiprogram.org scoring 80% or more on all the following modules:

  • Research Misconduct (RCR-Biomed) (ID: 1215) This module describes the three behaviors (fabrication, falsification, and plagiarism) that constitute research misconduct and the steps that can be taken to handle allegations of research misconduct of to prevent the occurrence of improper research practice.
  • Data Management (RCR-Biomed) (ID: 1308) This module provides an overview of ethical issues relating to data, including data acquisition, management, storage, sharing, and ownership.
  • Authorship (RCR-Biomed) (ID: 1380) This module provides an overview of the ethical responsibilities of authors. It discusses the primary criteria used to determine authorship, the range of acceptable authorship practices, circumstances where acknowledgement is appropriate, and challenging and problematic authorship practices.
  • Collaborative Research (RCR-Biomed) (ID: 1450) This module provides an overview of ethical issues relating to collaborative research partnerships. It includes a discussion of issues relating to collaborating with researchers from other disciplines and countries, and with industry.
  • Conflicts of Interest (RCR-Biomed) (ID: 1622) This module describes different types of conflicts of interest, conflict of commitment, and reasons why they can be problematic. Strategies that may mitigate or eliminate the impact of conflicts of interest are examined as well. It also discusses U.S. regulations and policies relating to financial conflicts of interest.
  • Export Controls and National Security (RCR-Interdisciplinary) (ID: 14770) This module provides an overview of U.S. export control regulations and a discussion of issues researchers should be aware of relating to national security.

Required seminar course

All students and postdoctoral fellows are required to take IP 801. “Integrity in the Conduct of Scientific Research,” a one credit course (15 contact hours) that provides didactic and group discussion of the topic and a series of case studies. The course is taught by faculty face-to-face with students / fellows as a series of one-hour sessions. Each student or fellow must complete a minimum of 8 contact hours that are tailored to their individual needs; fellows working with animals must attend sessions dealing with ethical issues regarding animal care; those working with human subjects must attend sessions relevant to human subjects protections, etc. Topics addressed include research with human subjects, research with animal subjects, the use of human biological materials, privacy and confidentiality of research and medical records, conflicts of interest, policies and procedures for addressing scientific misconduct, ownership of research, responsible reporting of research, and ethical training practices.

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