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Laboratory Ethics. Matthew George, Jr., Ph.D. mgeorge@howard.edu. The Laboratory Notebook. Recording of Experimental Data. Essential for protecting one’s intellectual property Determining ownership of ideas Validation of results to support grants and manuscripts

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Laboratory Ethics


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  1. Laboratory Ethics Matthew George, Jr., Ph.D. mgeorge@howard.edu

  2. The Laboratory Notebook

  3. Recording of Experimental Data • Essential for protecting one’s intellectual property • Determining ownership of ideas • Validation of results to support grants and manuscripts • Allow others to reproduce one’s work

  4. Components of the Notebook

  5. Assigning the Lab Notebook

  6. Notebook Instructions

  7. Table of Contents

  8. Numbered Pages

  9. General Laboratory Rules* • Each person in the lab should maintain a hardbound laboratory notebook with continuously numbered pages as a permanent record of his or her work and ideas • The notebooks should be kept in a safe place and not taken home

  10. General Lab Rules Continued • Notebooks and their content are the property of the University laboratory • The original notebook and all related data should be returned to the Laboratory Director when completed, upon request, or upon termination of employment • *Source: Brad Thompson, Univ. of TX, Medical Branch, Galveston and the AMGDB

  11. Additional Considerations • The lab notebook and its content are considered to be confidential • Exercise great care in preserving them • Report the loss or theft of a research notebook to your group leader immediately

  12. Each Notebook Should Include* • Table of contents-listing each experiment (page numbers) and the location of all pertinent data • Entries should be made in ink-not in pencil • Corrections should be made by making a single line-out (leaving the original legible) then adding the correction along with ones initials and the date

  13. Notebook Inclusions (cont’d) • Signature and date of who recorded the data • Signature and date of a knowledgeable person who reviewed and understood the data • *Source: Brad Thompson and AMGDB

  14. Each Experiment Should Include • Title, experiment number and date • Names of persons involved in the experiment and how they participated • Statement of purpose (list the specific question(s) to be answered by the experiment

  15. Each Experiment Should Include (2) • Experimental design. List key steps in the design. You may refer to previous experiments or recorded protocols used in your laboratory. If you deviate from what is in a prior protocol, record how it is different. Provide enough information so that a co-worker could continue from where you left off if you became ill.

  16. Each Experiment Should Include (3) • Results with original data. Include graphs or tables that summarize the data in your notebook • Conclusions. Meaning of results; problems; future plans • Remember, another person should be able to interpret and repeat what you have recorded

  17. Protection from Research Misconduct in the Laboratory- 1* • Be sure you look carefully at raw data from your post-docs, students and technicians • Watch while your technicians, students, or post-docs do research in your lab • Be sure you take concerns about data, or actual allegations, from your staff seriously

  18. Protection from Research Misconduct in the Laboratory- 2* • Be careful how you resolve disputes or break up with your former collaborators • If you find evidence of misconduct in your lab, report it and remove yourself • Don’t if you suspect misconduct, try a “trap” or “sting” without informing officials

  19. Protection from Research Misconduct in the Laboratory- 3* • Do good science, be a good mentor and show interest in your students’ work, and take responsibility for your laboratory’s research • *Source: Alan Price, Office of Research Integrity and the AMGDB

  20. Other Types of Data • Working with computer generated data • Working with data generated from “kits” • Interview and/or evaluation data • Computer and photo-editing programs

  21. Resources • www.amgdb.org • “Biochemistry Laboratory: Modern Theory and Techniques”. Rodney Boyer. Benjamin Cummings, New York, 2006 • Alan Price, Ph.D. 2002. “How to protect your faculty and department from research misconduct allegations”. AMGDB Chairs Meeting • Brad Thompson, Ph.D. 2003. “Guidelines for laboratory record keeping”. AMGDB Chairs Meeting