Research Integrity Study Provides Valuable New Insight
In December of 2000, the US Office of Research Integrity (ORI) issued a policy requiring instruction in the Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR). While the policy identified 9 core areas of RCR instruction, instructors were left with little guidance on what should be the overarching aims of such courses and what specific content should be taught.
With a $50K contract from ORI, Dr. James DuBois directed a Delphi panel project with nearly 40 experts in RCR to establish a consensus on the overarching aims and ideal content for RCR instruction. “I am very pleased with the results of this project,” said DuBois, “because until now many instructional programs focused strictly on rote knowledge of regulations. The consensus from this project suggests that instructors need to move beyond this to heighten sensitivity to ethical issues in research and to foster ethical decision-making skills.”
Moreover, the project will assist instructors in dealing with some of the thornier issues in RCR, such as publication ethics. Different fields sometimes embrace different rules for authorship, whether formally or informally, leaving instructors in doubt about what to teach. The consensus project—which included editors from the Review of Modern Physics, Psychological Review, JAMA, and the Lancet—identified 24 themes that should be addressed in teaching about responsible authorship and publication.
ORI plans to use the results from this project to guide instructors and the development of a comprehensive RCR assessment project.