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Research Integrity and Consultation Service

In support of ethical research and innovation at Virginia Tech, the Division of Scholarly Integrity and Research Compliance announces fall semester offerings of webinars that satisfy regulatory requirements for the National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, and U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

The individual half-day webinars each count for 4 hours towards the 8-hour in-person required research conduct training requirements.

Invited representatives from the Virginia Tech Office for Equity and Accessibility, Department of Statistics in the College of Science, Pamplin College of Business, and Office of the Ombudsperson in the Graduate School will discuss their roles in fostering an environment that promotes the responsible conduct of research.

Date: September 22, 2020

Time: 8:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

Register: https://profdev.tlos.vt.edu/browse/researchdiscovery/courses/sirc13-092220

Presented By: Scholarly Integrity and Research Compliance

Ethics and compliance are both integral components of Virginia Tech’s ability to conduct innovative and impactful research. While compliance is following the law, ethical decision-making is the process of making decisions that are consistent with professional values and ethical norms. This half-day webinar will cover the regulatory requirements for conducting human subjects research, as well as the process for identifying and managing conflicts of interest. There will also be discussions about the ethical obligation to protect research participants, the ethical issues concerning unidentified conflicts of interest, and the importance of mentor-mentee relationships in fostering an efficient and ethical research environment.

Date: October 9, 2020

Time: 8:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

Register: https://profdev.tlos.vt.edu/browse/researchdiscovery/courses/sirc13-100920

Presented By: Scholarly Integrity and Research Compliance

Description: Ethics and compliance are both integral components of Virginia Tech’s ability to conduct innovative and impactful research. While compliance is following the law, ethical decision-making is the process of making decisions that are consistent with professional values and ethical norms. This half-day webinar will cover the regulatory requirements for conducting research with animals, as well as the process for ensuring the health and safety of all personnel working with biohazardous agents. There will also be discussions about the resources and requirements for keeping research data secure.

Date: October 22, 2020

Time: 8:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

Register: https://profdev.tlos.vt.edu/browse/researchdiscovery/courses/sirc13-102220

Presented By: Scholarly Integrity and Research Compliance, Office for Equity and Accessibility, and the Department of Statistics

Description: Ethics and compliance are both integral components of Virginia Tech’s ability to conduct innovative and impactful research. While compliance is following the law, ethical decision-making is the process of making decisions that are consistent with professional values and ethical norms. This half-day webinar will cover the detrimental effects that bullying, harassment, and discrimination can have on the research environment. We will also cover statistical ethics and research misconduct.

Date: November 17, 2020

Time: 12:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Register: https://profdev.tlos.vt.edu/browse/researchdiscovery/courses/sirc13-111720

Presented By: Scholarly Integrity and Research Compliance, Pamplin College of Business, and the Office of the Ombudsperson

Description: Ethics and compliance are both integral components of Virginia Tech’s ability to conduct innovative and impactful research. While compliance is following the law, ethical decision-making is the process of making decisions that are consistent with professional values and ethical norms. This half-day webinar will cover engaging in and managing conflict in a constructive way. There will also be discussions about citations ethics and authorship ethics.

About the Research Integrity and Consulation Service

Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) requires ethical decision-making. Research activities must also follow applicable state and federal requirements, as well Virginia Tech policies and procedures.

The Research Ethics and Consultation Service (RICS) develops and provides a comprehensive program of training experiences and learning opportunities to infuse ethics, and regulatory knowledge across the university. 

RICS also provides a research ethics consultation service that helps researchers to identify, analyze and resolve complex questions that arise during the development, conduct, and dissemination of research.

Numerous considerations inform the design, conduct, and dissemination of research. Recognizing when those considerations have an ethical dimension can be challenging. An open dialogue about ethics can help researchers to identify ethical issues so that they can make informed, deliberate, and intentional decisions. The Ethics and Innovation Blog provides a forum for the Virginia Tech community to share ideas about the ethical issues that affect their research in Blacksburg, across the Commonwealth, and around the world.

Submission Requirements

  • 500-1,000 words submitted to integrity@vt.edu
  • Original works only
  • Articles should highlight ethical issues in research, public policy, or other scholarly endeavors

Who can submit an article?

  • Virginia Tech students, faculty, and staff may submit posts for inclusion in the Ethics and Innovation Blog.
  • External contributors will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

What are the criteria for inclusion?

  • Only original articles will be considered. Academic writing, for example writing that was done for a class, will also be considered.
  • Previously published work will not be published.
  • Articles should highlight ethical issues in research, public policy, or other scholarly endeavors.
  • Articles do not need to be related to science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM).
  • Articles that highlight ethical issues in the humanities and arts are encouraged and will be considered.
  • Articles that do not fall within the scope of the Ethics and Innovation Blog will not be published.
  • Blog posts should be at least 500 words, but no longer than 1,000 words. 500 words is the recommended minimum length, but shorter articles will be considered.
  • Articles with more than 1,000 words will not be published.
  • Authors are encouraged to provide pictures or other graphic features with their submission.
  • Pictures should be submitted with the appropriate permissions and citations when applicable.
  • Pictures that include people’s faces or other identifying information should include permission from those individuals. This does not apply to stock photos.

How often are posts made?

  • Articles will be reviewed on a rolling basis.
  • The exact publication date will be determined the RICS director, who serves as the blog moderator.
  • The capacity of the webmaster, and the volume of approved articles are among the factors that will affect the publication date.

Who reviews submissions?

  • The RICS director will review articles that are submitted for inclusion in the Ethics and Innovation Blog.
  • Review time will vary but the reviews will be conducted in a timely manner.
  • All authors will notified of the outcome of the review.
  • Determinations are final, but the RICS director may provide feedback, or work with the author to further develop their article.

The SIRC Investigator Series is an enrichment program that provides training on ethical decision-making, and the responsible conduct of research.  SIRC Investigator Series courses complement but will not satisfy graduate program ethics and integrity education requirements. For more information about funding related responsible conduct of research training requirements email ktrott@vt.edu or call 540-231-3798.

Dates and times for upcoming SIRC Investigator Series webinars can be found in the TLOS: Professional Development Course Catalogue. Additionally, many of the SIRC Investigator Series webinars can be delivered upon request. If you're interested in arranging a responsible conduct of research webinar please email Kory Trott at ktrott@vt.edu or call 540-231-3798.

Previous SIRC Investigator Series Courses

  • Research Ethics: From Foundations to Practice
    • Course Description: Researchers regularly face tough decisions such as weighing the risks and benefits of a proposed study, but researchers may not recognize that those decisions have an ethical dimension. This training introduces participants to research ethics, and provides a practical approach to ethical decision making. The training will also highlight the complementary roles that facts, and values play in ethical decision-making.
  • Planning for Human Subjects Research at Virginia Tech
    • CourseDescription: Prior to conducting research with human subjects, research protocols must be reviewed by the Human Research Protection Program and the Institutional Review Board. This course outlines the requirements for conducting human subjects research at Virginia Tech, and provides an overview of Virginia Tech’s submission and review processes.
  • Your Protocol and the IRB: Infusing Research Ethics into Your Research Protocol
    • Course Description: Research protocols serve many purposes, one of which is to provide the Human Research Protections Program and the Institutional Review Board with the information they need to conduct the ethical review required by federal law and university policy. Successful protocols incorporate both a thorough description of the procedures and methods and ethical considerations of the research plan. . Incorporating ethics into a research protocol, requires an understanding of the ethical principles outlined in the Belmont Report, as well as the ability to infuse those principles into the various sections of the protocol. This training will explain the ethical requirements for research with human subjects, and explain where to include that ethical information in the research protocol.
  • Informed Consent: Beyond the Informed Consent Document
    • Course Description: Independent decision-making in accordance with one’s goals, values, and preferences is central to the decision to enroll in a research study. The informed consent process is intended to facilitate potential participants’ decision-making process. Researchers interacting with potential participants must create informed consent processes that provide potential subjects with the information and support they need to make a decision that aligns with their values and preferences. This training session will outline the requirements for informed consent and highlight the importance of creating a consent process that facilitates understanding.
  • Authorship Ethics for Research and Scholarly Publications
    • Course Description: Authors of research publications are usually those collaborators who provide meaningful intellectual contribution to a project, but determining authorship position (e.g., first author, senior author) and deciding what constitutes a meaningful contribution can require complex decisions. Authorship disputes can lead to conflict between collaborators, but those types of disputes can be avoided with transparent pre-planning and clear discussions of expectations. This training will discuss authorship disputes as well as tips for avoiding common ethical pitfalls in scientific publication.
  • Promoting Objectivity in Research: Identifying and Managing Conflicts of Interest
    • Course Description: The design, conduct, and reporting of research should be free from bias resulting from an investigator’s financial conflicts of interest. Lack of objectivity in research can distort results and lead to incorrect conclusions. This training provides information about the ethical issues concerning unidentified conflicts of interest and the federal, state, and local requirements for reporting interests.
  • Sharing Research Data – Yours, Mine and Ours
    • Course Description: Scholarly Integrity and Research Compliance and the Office of Sponsored Projects have collaborated to define a process for transferring data from one institution to another. In this training we will present some of the tools and processes that are available to researchers to make the data transfer process a smooth one.  We will discuss the life cycle of a transfer agreement from data evaluation, intake, and negotiation through to final signing.
  • Telework: Managing Research Data in a Connected World
    • Course Description: Scholarly Integrity and Research Compliance and the Collaborative Computing Solutions within Division of IT are aware of the challenges of adjusting to research at a distance. In this training we will present some of the tools and technologies that are available to researchers to help. We will discuss options for every stage of the research data collection process from collection to data destruction and provide real world examples of using the available offerings to make the transition to socially distanced research.

Subject Area

Virginia Tech Training Information and Requirements

Population

Course Information

Details

Responsible Conduct of Research

Responsible Conduct of Research On-Line Course

Students and postdocs supported by NSF research funding

Training available through CITI: https://www.research.vt.edu/sirc/hrpp/training.html

Renewal: None

More information: https://www.research.vt.edu/research-integrity-office/responsible-conduct-research/nsf.html

Responsible Conduct of Research

Responsible Conduct of Research On-Line Course

PIs, Co-Is, and anyone who is paid on a USDA NIFA award

Training available through CITI: https://www.research.vt.edu/sirc/hrpp/training.html

Renewal: None

More information: https://www.research.vt.edu/training/required.html

Responsible Conduct of Research

Responsible Conduct of Research

Trainees, fellows, participants, and scholars supported by some types of D, F, K, R, T, and U awards

A minimum of eight hours of face-to-face training is required every four years.

The NIH provides a list of commonly accepted topics for instruction in the responsible conduct of research (RCR). Please reach out to integrity@vt.edu for addtional informaitn about face-to-face RCR instruction.

Renewal: Refresher every four years

The NIH requirement has nine topics for comprehensive research ethics training.

More information: https://www.research.vt.edu/research-integrity-office/responsible-conduct-researc

All graduate students are expected to uphold the Virginia Tech Principles of Community and the Graduate School’s Expectations for Graduate Education as well as the scholarly integrity and research ethics standards of their disciplines. Graduate students must complete degree program requirements for learning about 4 required scholarly ethics and integrity topics plus additional topics relevant to the discipline as follows.

Few pressures in academic life equal the pressure to publish. Key ethical issues surrounding the submission and review of manuscripts and grant proposals include: how to appropriately acknowledge contributions on joint projects, what is expected of authors, and what is expected of reviewers.

Authorship Agreements:

The following documents can help to guide the authorship conversation between collaborators. It is also important to note that unless otherwise stated, authorship agreements are not binding. Instead they represent both parties' understanding and acknowledgment of their mutual intentions. Therefore authorship agreements can and should be revisited thought out the lifecycle of a project.

Whose Names Should be on the Paper?

As collaboration grows in all areas of academia, questions concerning who should be named as an author for a journal article, conference presentation, or grant proposal become more complex. The basic principle that authors should make meaningful intellectual contributions to a project is sound, but it can be difficult to apply, because of the many different possible roles in a project. To address these issues, some journals have begun listing the areas of contribution of different authors, and a number of scholars have suggested quantitative systems for determining authorship.

Another important question is whose names should not be on a paper. Because authorship entails rights and responsibilities, contributors should not be named as authors without their knowledge or unless they review manuscripts.

Rights and Responsibilities of an Author

As the admonition "publish or perish" suggests, the major right of an author is to receive credit for the creative work required by most research positions, particularly in academia. With acknowledgment of credit comes an obligation to accept responsibility for publications as novel, meaningful, and truthful contributions to the field. As those responsibilities suggest, three of the most criticized publication practices include:

  1. Duplicate publication-publishing identical or equivalent materials in more than one place. This is also a form of self-plagiarizing.
  2. Publishing in "least publishable units"-breaking up research to maximize publication credit rather than to create intellectually coherent works.
  3. Plagiarism-claiming credit for the words or ideas of another.

Unless the contributions of co-authors are explicitly identified, all authors take responsibility for the entire paper.

Learn more about Virginia Tech Research Misconduct Resources.

Rights and Responsibilities of a Reviewer

Peer review of papers and grant proposals allocates limited resources-journal space or funding-and improves scholarship. Given the importance of publication in academia, access to unpublished works creates responsibilities for reviewers. In general, unpublished material should be treated as confidential. Manuscripts should not be shown to colleagues. Ideas should not be adopted for use in the reviewer's work. If a reviewer learns something from a manuscript and wishes to pursue it or provide it to another scholar, he or she should ask the editor to arrange contact between author and reviewer, so that a mutually agreeable arrangement can be made. There is one exception to the general principle of holding information learned in a review confidential. If a reviewer learns that research he or she is pursuing will not be fruitful because of the review, the reviewer's work in that area can be terminated.

Reviewers should also be scrupulous about potential conflicts of interest. Potential conflicts of interest should be disclosed to editors and discussed. They can include:

  • A financial interest that could be affected by the research results
  • Knowledge of the author and a personal relationship with him or her
  • Significantly overlapping research programs

 

Authorship, Publication and Peer Review Guidance From The University of Wisconisn-Madison <https://kb.wisc.edu/gsadminkb/page.php?id=33393>

 

Image of Kory Trott

Image of Kory Trott

Kory Trott
Director, Research Integrity and Consultation Service
 ktrott@vt.edu
540-231-3798

RICS Education and Outreach