Sometimes good researchers make bad mistakes. They may cut corners when consenting participants, fabricate data to meet a grant deadline, inappropriately access private records, or fail to disclose significant financial conflicts of interest. James DuBois, PhD, DSc has received an award from the NIH National Center for Research Resources to address this problem. Subcontracted through the Institute of Clinical and Translational Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis, the $476,564 grant will help develop the Restoring Professionalism and Integrity in Research (RePAIR) program, which will offer remediation training for investigators.
The RePAIR program is a groundbreaking endeavor that will provide remediation training for investigators who have engaged in wrongdoing or unprofessional behavior. The RePAIR program is meant to provide an alternative to termination for those who are deemed to merit a second chance following remediation training. It assumes that most participating investigators know that what they did (e.g., fabricating data) was wrong; so it does not focus on teaching ethics. Rather, the RePAIR program focuses on teaching work management skills that might reduce the felt need to cut corners and ethical problem-solving skills. It will also identify and challenge thought patterns and feelings that undermine research integrity. Some learning modules will be tailored to the individual needs of learners following rigorous assessment.
Program Director James DuBois says, "We are incredibly fortunate to have a curriculum development team comprised of diverse experts throughout the nation. We never could have developed a program like this without substantial support from the National Institutes of Health." The development team consists of experts in research ethics, law and research compliance, cognitive, developmental, and industrial-organizational psychology, as well as professional ethics and remediation training. Some of the team members have run successful remediation training programs for physicians who have been referred by state medical boards.
The program will be offered twice per year beginning in the fall of 2012. To learn more about the program, contact Tessa Gauzy, the RePAIR Program Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org.