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Conduct, Misconduct & Conflicts of Interest

Responsible Conduct

Many funding agencies, particularly at the federal level, are requiring training in areas that are known collectively as Responsible Conduct of Research. Specific areas of training include:

  • Data Acquisition, Sharing, and Management
  • Conflict of Interest and Commitment
  • Human Subjects
  • Animal Welfare
  • Research Misconduct
  • Publication Practices and Responsible Authorship
  • Mentor/Trainee Responsibilities
  • Peer Review
  • Collaborative Science

We are encouraging all investigators to participate in the training that is available in these areas, by utilizing citiprogram.org. The Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Research Integrity also provides in-depth information.

Visit the site here >>

Conflicts of Interest

Management of Financial Conflicts of Interest (FCOI) has become a major activity in Compliance Offices across the country as a result of federal rules that require disclosure upon submission of requests for funding. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, a FCOI may exist if an investigator has a significant financial interest that could directly and significantly affect the design, conduct, or reporting of a research project.
In recently published rules, HHS established amended standards to assure that HHS-funded grants or cooperative agreements will be free from bias that may result from the investigator’s financial conflicts of interest (Title 42, Part 50). Effective in August of 2012, notable changes in the new regulations include:

  • Disclosure of FCOIs at a lower dollar threshold (from $10,000 to $5,000);
  • Public disclosure of investigators’ FCOI information including the name of the investigator, the entity, and the amount of the financial interest provided either through a website or letters to individuals requesting the information;
  • Documented Investigator training about conflicts of interest in research at least every four years;
  • Retrospective review of grants and financial relationships when financial interests are not disclosed or reviewed in a timely manner, or management plans are not followed.

The University, in compliance with state law, collects disclosure statements from all of its employees annually. These disclosures are used as grants are submitted; provided, however, that if investigators’ circumstances change, a revised disclosure form should be submitted.

For more information concerning conflicts of interest, please refer to the following:

Research Misconduct

In recent years, well-publicized cases of misconduct in university research (i.e., fabrication, falsification, and plagiarism) have aroused concern among research institutions, individual investigators, research sponsors, professional societies, and the general public. Although verified instances of such behaviors are relatively rare, they raise serious questions about the integrity of the research process and the stewardship of public and private research funds. Institutions of higher education, in particular, enjoy a centuries-old tradition of integrity and objectivity, and cases of dishonesty in the university community must be dealt with carefully and thoroughly if the institution is to merit continued public confidence and trust.

Research Misconduct includes (1) fabrication - making up data or results and recording or reporting them; (2) falsification - manipulating research materials, equipment, or processes, or changing or omitting data or results such that the research is not accurately represented in the research record; or (3) plagiarism - appropriation of another person's ideas, processes, results, or words without giving appropriate credit in proposing, performing, or reviewing research, or in reporting research results. Research misconduct does not include honest error or differences of opinion.

Laser Safety

The University requires training in the safe use of lasers. The program is monitored by the Director of Environmental Health and Safety and Laser Safety Officer for A-State.