Policy Handbook

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Responsible Conduct in Research


Responsible Conduct in Research



1.0 Purpose:

            A vital part of Juniata College’s educational mission is its support of scholarly research.  The institution encourages both faculty and students to pursue their interests and if possible, to do so with external financial support.  Juniata College, its faculty, staff and students are committed to conducting research and meeting the highest ethical standards while doing so.


The America COMPETES Act of 2007 (http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=h110-2272) establishes that extramurally-supported institutional research and education proposals need to present a plan for “appropriate training and oversight in the responsible and ethical conduct of research.”


This policy makes it mandatory for any student interested in conducting externally supported research at Juniata College to meet or exceed the minimum standards of responsible conduct of research established by the National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation and National Academy of Sciences.


The elements discussed in those standards for the Responsible Conduct in Research will be completed by each student prior to the start of his/her research project in either one of two ways.

1)    Each student will be required to participate in a research methods course in their discipline prior to being engaged in the research;

a.     Each research methods course will now include instruction in all nine topics identified under section 4.0 Guidelines.

b.     It is the responsibility of the department chair in each of the departments to ensure that these topics are adequately addressed in each of the methods courses.

2)    Or the student will be required to complete online instruction and certification now offered under BI 389 (Biology Research Seminar) through an established relationship between Juniata College and the PEERRS online system of the University of Michigan.


The NIH has specified nine areas for instruction in RCR: Research Misconduct; Protection of Human Subjects; Welfare of Animals; Conflict of Interest; Data Management Practices; Mentor and Trainee Responsibilities; Collaborative Research; Authorship and Publication; and Peer Review.


The faculty member who serves as a research proposal’s Principal Investigator (PI) will certify that adequate training, supervision, and mentoring of undergraduate research assistants in the responsible conduct of research has been provided.


All PI’s will sign a form for each of their participating students on which the PI indicates that they have provided RCR training appropriate to the discipline, research project, and level of involvement for that student for each relevant NIH instructional area, or they will provide an explanation for why any particular area of training was not completed (e.g. in the case of non-human subjects research). Each participating student will sign the form indicating that they have received appropriate training. The completed training certification forms will be sent to the Provost’s Office, which will be responsible for maintaining this documentation for as long as required. (Form is available on the Public Drive – Administration/Grants/Forms and Policies/JC Student RCR Training Certification form)



2.0 Related Policies


            Juniata College has multiple related policies in place.  The Juniata College Research Integrity Policy clearly states the principles dealing with identifying and managing alleged scientific misconduct in research.  The Protection of Human Subjects Policy clearly defines and discusses the IRB established by Juniata College.  The Conflict of Interest Policy Statement protects the highest level of integrity in research by setting the principles for dealing with conflicts of interest.  The IACUC policy statement at Juniata sets the principles for animal treatment in research.  Juniata College also has a biohazard policy that sets the principles for managing handling potentially dangerous material while doing research. Faculty, student and collaborating researchers are additionally expected to abide by each of these related policies.


            In addition to the policies referenced in section 4.0 below, other related resources are listed at the end of this policy.



3.0 Scope


            This policy and the associated procedures apply to all Juniata College faculty and students engaged in externally funded research.  This policy applies to any person paid by, under the control of, or affiliated with the institution in externally supported research, such as faculty, administrators, scientists, trainees, technicians and other staff members, students, fellows, guest researchers, or collaborators.


4.0 Guidelines


In order to comply with this policy, all researchers serving on externally funded research must provide evidence to the principal investigator that they have already completed a research methods course or taken online instruction and received certification in the responsible conduct of research.  That responsible conduct instruction must include each of the following topics:


1. Research Misconduct

1.1 Definition

The Office of Science and Technology Policy defines research misconduct as “fabrication, falsification, or plagiarism in proposing, performing, or reviewing research, or in reporting research results”[i]. All actions that are beyond the scope of accepted practices as well as any reckless, intentional action that can be proven with sufficient evidence will be considered research misconduct.


            1.2 Reporting and Investigation of Misconduct


Juniata College holds its faculty and students to the highest standards in regards to appropriate behavior in research methods and practices.  It is the responsibility of individuals to report misconduct and it is the responsibility of the institution to investigate the allegations. Responsible individuals will be expected to assume full responsibility for their actions, take misconduct seriously and report the apparent misconduct of fellow researchers.


            As recommended by the Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Research Integrity (ORI), Juniata College will apply the following provisions for reporting and investigating allegations of misconduct in research:


1. The designation of an individual authorized to receive and investigate allegations of misconduct,


2. Provisions for an initial inquiry to determine whether the allegations have any merit,


3. Provisions for a formal investigation to reach conclusions about the truth of the allegations,


4. The designation of an individual who is authorized to weigh (adjudicate) the conclusions reached in the investigation and impose administrative actions to redress the misconduct (sanctions) or take steps to vindicate the person charged,


5. Provisions for reporting findings to ORI.”[ii]



(For more information on this topic and Juniata’s detailed policies and procedures, see (\jcpublic) (P:)\AdministrationGrantsForms and PoliciesResearch Integrity and http://grants.nih.gov/grants/research_integrity/index.htm)



2. The Protection of Human Subjects


            The Common Rule defines human subjects as “living individual(s) about whom an investigator conducting research obtains: (1) data through intervention or interaction with the individual; or (2) identifiable private information” (§ 46.102(f)[iii]


            All faculty and students conducting research that involves human subjects must comply with all federal regulations that apply. They are also responsible to comply with any additional regulations that the funders of the specific research project may impose. All individuals involved in the research will also be held responsible for being familiar with the regulations in question as well as getting the proper training needed to be qualified to conduct such research.


            As required by law, all individuals involved in conducting federally funded research involving human subjects will need the appropriate approval from the Institutional Review Board and all other suitable institutions.


(For more information on this topic and Juniata’s detailed policies and procedures, see http://services.juniata.edu/catalog/policies/?section=view&policy=571)



3. The Welfare of Laboratory Animals



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