Responsible Conduct of Research
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Research Ethics at CSU, Bernard Rollin, University Bioethicist
Any group of persons, united in a group for common purpose, be it in society or in a university, must operate by a consensus set of rules governing what is seen as right and wrong, good and bad, fair and unfair, just and unjust. Without such rules, one could not have a unified collective entity, and efforts towards achieving a common goal would degenerate into chaos and anarchy, since any human activity faces myriad ethical challenges.
Research and scholarly activity conducted at an institution for the accretion of knowledge and the benefit of society falls four square under the rubric just described. We at CSU are committed to maximizing the ethical dimensions of what research and scholarship we conduct, as well as the scientific dimensions.
Colorado State University Responsible Conduct of Research Training
Colorado State University (CSU) is committed to excellence, setting the standard for public higher education in teaching, research and service for the benefit of the citizens of Colorado and the United States. In alignment with the CSU Principles of Community, we are committed to developing a culture of shared values:
- being accountable
- engaging in civic responsibilities
- promoting freedom of expression
- demonstrating inclusiveness and diversity
- encouraging innovation
- acting with integrity and mutual respect
- providing opportunity and access to all
Responsible conduct of research includes all scholarly and inquiry activity associated with the mission of CSU. Although the nature of such research varies by discipline, training in ethics and responsible conduct is an essential component of the education of all members of the academic community.
All trainees engaged in research and scholarly inquiry at the undergraduate, graduate or postdoctoral level will be required to take RCR training during their time at CSU.
**Approved Face-to-Face (F2F) training should take place in the first year of the trainee starting at CSU.
The scientific research enterprise, like other human activities, is built on a foundation of trust. Scientists trust that the results reported by others are valid. Society trusts that the results of research reflect an honest attempt by scientists to describe the world accurately and without bias. The level of trust that has characterized science and its relationship with society has contributed to a period of unparalleled scientific productivity. But this trust will endure only if the scientific community devotes itself to exemplifying and transmitting the values associated with ethical scientific conduct.
– On Being a Scientist, National Academies of Science, 1995
Professional misconduct is unacceptable in all forms. CSU is committed to upholding the highest standards of ethical conduct. We seek to empower our faculty, staff and students to model ethical behavior in the proposing, performing, reviewing and publishing of all research and scholarly endeavors. In addition, federal agency regulations require that CSU have and maintain robust policies and procedures addressing research misconduct (also called “misconduct in science”).
A critical component of the mission of the Research Integrity and Compliance Review Office is to assist departments in training their faculty and students in the fundamental aspects of research integrity. We do this through training modules in IACUC, IBC, IRB, and RCR. We will also work with departments to customize training that meets the federal regulations.
Misconduct in Science Contact Information
Research Misconduct – CSU Policies and Procedures
Misconduct in Science – Ethics Policies and Guidelines
- PHS Office of Research Integrity
- PHS Policy on Research Misconduct (2005)
- NSF Misconduct in Science and Engineering Research from Chapter 6 of the Grants Policy Manual, Project and Grant Management. (1995)
- USDA Ethics Site
- “On Being a Scientist: Responsible Conduct in Research.” A NAS booklet suitable for curricular use. (1995)
- ORI Introduction to RCR (2006)
- CGS-RCR Initiatives
- PHS and FDA debarment lists
- CSU Writing Center – Treatment of Plagiarism
Allegations of Research Misconduct at CSU
CSU is committed to the accomplishment of our missions while upholding the highest standards of ethical professional conduct. However, like all large, active academic research institutions, we receive allegations of “research misconduct.” We actively pursue all allegations of research misconduct, and take every precaution to protect whistleblowers and other parties involved with a misconduct allegation. On an annual basis we are required to report allegations of misconduct to the DHHS Office of Research Integrity (ORI). A summary of the number of formal allegations made, and their outcome, is provided below. Each year, a number of allegations or informal queries come to the Research Integrity Officer (RIO, Kimberly Cox-York) about potential wrongdoings. Some correctly allege “research misconduct” or “research-related misconduct” but others are determined to not fall in these categories and are subsequently referred to an appropriate party for disposition. Therefore, the number of allegations recorded here represents a subset of the total number of allegations and queries that are typically brought to the RIO.
CSU treats such allegations as sensitive and confidential personnel records. It conducts its inquiries and investigations in accord with the CSU Administrative Procedures for Research Misconduct – revised 2021. Individuals involved in the conduct of inquiries and investigations are required to maintain this confidentiality. In the cases where there is a final determination that research misconduct occurred, CSU continues to treat such information as confidential, personnel material. Thus, the names of specific individuals determined to have falsified, fabricated or plagiarized data are not made public.
CSU will continue its activities to build and maintain a culture that values and practices the responsible conduct of research. Through education, mentoring and peer involvement, CSU will endeavor to minimize the occurrence of research misconduct.