responsible conduct of research biol chem 397 spring 2011 n.
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Responsible Conduct of Research (BIOL/CHEM 397 – spring 2011). Agenda / Goals for Today . What is RCR Components of RCR Responsibilities & Consequences Scenarios Your Research Ethics. Encouraging responsible conduct of research.

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Responsible Conduct of Research (BIOL/CHEM 397 – spring 2011)

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agenda goals for today
Agenda / Goals for Today
  • What is RCR
  • Components of RCR
  • Responsibilities & Consequences
  • Scenarios
  • Your Research Ethics
encouraging responsible conduct of research
Encouraging responsible conduct of research

The aim of discussing research ethics is to encourage integrity in the pursuit of scientific investigation and practice among of scientists, scholars, and professionals

Office of Research Integrity, Department of Health and Human Services 

In other words, be aware of:

  • what it means to be a responsible researcher
  • how to properly “conduct” research
  • doing the “right thing”
the nine 9 areas of rcr
The Nine (9) Areas of RCR

core responsibilities of rcr
Core Responsibilities of RCR
  • Essential for learning and scholarship
  • Respect, integrity and honesty
  • Avoid errors and report results accurately
  • Use resources wisely
  • Create trust in relationships with colleagues and with the public
fabrication making up data or results recording or reporting them
Fabrication (making up data or results & recording or reporting them) 

John Darsee

  • Research Fellow & clinical investigator in cardiology at Harvard, 1979
  • Produced 5 major papers in 15 months; offered faculty position in 1981
  • Colleagues became concerned about the accuracy of Darsee’s results.
  • Included faculty members  who did not know they were on the authors on papers or had no direct involvement in the research.
  • Also found he fabricated research publications beginning when he was a biology student continuing through his medical residency and fellowship 
  • Led to the retraction of 10 primary journal articles and more than 45 abstracts
  • Got a job in critical care medicine in New York where he did not perform any research


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)

Robert Slutsky

  • Cardiologist, University of California at San Diego, 1986
  • Published 161 articles in 6 years; at one time he was completing an article every 10 days
  • Included the names of many co-authors to mislead editors and cover up for what was later found to be false output
  • Investigation of publications between 1975 to 1985 contained “statistical anomalies” and “duplicated data” that raised the question of falsified research records
  • Further found that of his 137 of his publications 77 were valid, 48 were questionable, and 12 were fraudulent
  • Resigned from the School of Medicine

Plagiarism(taking another person's ideas, processes, results, or words without giving appropriate credit)

Stephen Ambrose

  • Popular and well respected historian (Band of Brothers, D-Day) and biographer of U.S. Presidents Dwight Eisenhower and Richard Nixon
  • In 2002 Ambrose was accused of plagiarizing several passages in his book The Wild Blue
  • Accused of inappropriately borrowing the words and phrases of three passages from a book by the historian Thomas Childers, "The Wings of Morning."
  • The New York Times performed a closer inspection of "The Wild Blue" and found in at least five other places Ambrose borrowed words, phrases and passages from other historians' books
  • He acknowledged these errors and promised to correct them in later editions but defended his methods:

“I tell stories. I don't discuss my documents. I discuss the story. It almost gets to the point where, how much is the reader going to take? I am not writing a Ph.D. dissertation.”


“I wish I had put the quotation marks in, but I didn't. I am not out there stealing other people's writings. If I am writing up a passage and it is a story I went to tell and this story fits and a part of it is from other people's writing, I just type it up that way and put it in a footnote. I just want to know where the hell it came from.” *

  • Forbes Magazine found other cases of plagiarism involving passages in at least six books, with a similar pattern going all the way back to his doctoral thesis
  • Died soon after controversy came to light

* David D. Kirkpatrick, "As Historian's Fame Grows, So Does Attention to Sources,"New York Times, January 11, 2002

  • Syracuse University, Research Ethics and Academic Integrity video vignettes, 2002,

Data Manipulation - third time’s the charm (Scene 2)

Data Management - my “dog” ate my data (Scene 5)

Sharing of Lab Resources – please may I? I won’t tell (Scene 8)

Plagiarism and Inappropriate Citation - And I’m only a grad student!

(Scene 11)

incorporate the 9 rcr areas into your own research ethics
Incorporate the 9 RCR areas into your own research ethics
  • Be honest and transparent, not deceptive (e.g., falsifying, fabricating, or plagiarizing data or deceitful attribution of authorship)
  • Be fair by not introducing unwanted bias into research results, conclusions, or inferences (e.g., conflicts of interest and commitment, sloppiness)
  • Be benevolent, not be malicious (e.g., thievery of ideas, unfair criticism during peer review for personal gain; exploitive of others)
  • Protect participants, research personnel, and the environment
  • Be open to creativity and innovation
  • Protect the public trust

John Galland, Office of Research Integrity, 2009,

Office of Research Integrity policies and procedures:

UMBC links for policies and procedures:

UMBC RCR training: