RCR Contact: Adam Kriska, Responsible Conduct of Research Officer

Adherence to ethical standards of practice and behavior in institutional activities is expected of all members of the Ball State University community, whether they be faculty, students, or staff members.

All universities receiving federal funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF) are required to have a plan for training student personnel and postdoctoral researchers on NSF research grants in the Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR). Given the NSF mandate, and concurrent requirements from other federal agencies, all Ball State University undergraduate, graduate, and postdoctoral researchers involved in any way on a federal award will be required to complete RCR training. In addition to this requirement, all NSF grant applications will be required to describe the plan for RCR training. Other federal grant applications may also require similar statements.

For More Information

For information or questions regarding these policies, please contact the Office of Research Integrity at 765-285-5088 or Chris Mangelli at View Email.

Provisions exist to review instances where individuals may not have met these standards. A special case for considering allegations of misconduct arises in research projects which are supported by the Public Health Service (PHS), and by other agencies which have adopted special requirements for grantees when misconduct on the part of the project participants is alleged or confirmed. The Research Misconduct Policy is intended to identify steps to be taken when an allegation of misconduct is directed against any member of the university community who is a participant on a research project sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services or other agencies requiring DHHS procedures relative to misconduct.

Responsible Conduct of Research training is available through Ball State's subscription to the CITI Program. Instructions for registering and taking the RCR course can be found on page 11 in the CITI Program Manual (PDF).

Training

Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) Training is a program required by the National Science Foundation (NSF) in response to federal guidelines that ensures responsible and ethical conduct of research. RCR training is required for students and postdoctoral employees who receive support from the National Science Foundation. As the Foundation's website states, "the responsible and ethical conduct of research is critical for excellence, as well as public trust, in science and engineering". Other granting agencies, such as the National Institute of Health (NIH) may also require RCR training for students and postdoctoral employees receiving support. For more information, visit the NSF Responsible Conduct of Research website.

This training is an advanced face-to-face training that should be attended after completing the RCR CITI training online training modules. If you have not received your certificate, please sign up for the training at the CITI Website. For additional help with registering for CITI Training, please visit our CITI Training Webpage.

For guidelines and a step-by-step explanation of submitting your protocol in IRBNet, reference the IRBNet User Manual (PDF). This manual includes screenshots of every step of the process and can answer many basic IRBNet-related questions. Specific RCR training instructions are on page 11.

The face-to-face training consists of five sessions that are 50 minutes each.

  • Session 1: Introduction and Research Misconduct
  • Session 2: Data Management - Collaboration
  • Session 3: Mentor-Mentee Relationships
  • Session 4: Ethical Conduct: Research with animals and humans
  • Session 5: Publication Practices

To request an RCR training, please fill out this form (Word).

Case Study Number One

Academic avoids jail after being found guilty of fraud for falsifying Parkinson's disease research to obtain $700,000 in research funding

Summary of misconduct

  • P.I. falsified Parkinson's research to obtain a $700,000 research grant.
  • Guilty of five charges of fraud and attempted fraud.
  • Attempted to user others' research as her own for grants and fellowship.
  • Was in a relationship with her superior who asked for the assistance.

Discussion

What implications does this have?

Case Study Number Two

Leading scientist suspended amid 'research misconduct' investigation

Summary of Misconduct

  • P.I. is under investigation for falsifying data (using rotated and reflected images in his papers)
  • Received about $12 million in funding for research of Cystic Fibrosis
  • Collaborated with universities across the world that are now having their credibility questioned

Discussion

Are researchers basing new research off of these findings?

Authorship on a scientific publication and/or creative project is both a reward and a responsibility. The completion and signing on this agreement (Word) aids in the avoidance of conflicts on who should and will be included as an author on scholarly work. For specific rules and recommendations regarding who (in general) qualifies for authorship, please refer to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Office of Research Integrity’s policy on authorship and publication or the Ball State General Authorship Guidelines.

All BSU researchers are encouraged to share their scholarly findings in the form accepted by the university. This web page serves as a general guideline for consideration of the important issues and questions surrounding authorship and publication.

  • Author: An individual who has made substantial intellectual contributions to a scientific investigation, usually through participation in drafting, reviewing, and/or revising the manuscript for intellectual content.
  • Authorship: The ability to publicly take responsibility for the contents of the project (e.g., being sufficiently knowledgeable about the project to be able to present it in a formal forum).
  • Collaborative Research: Equal partnership between two academic faculty members who are pursing mutually interesting and beneficial research, or ii. research involving investigators of differing stature, funding status, and types of organizations or institutions.
  • Data: Information collected for reference and analysis.
  • Data Ownership: Refers to both the possession of and responsibility for information.
  • Plagiarism: To steal and pass off the ideas or words of another as one’s own; literary theft.
  • Presentation: A demonstration or display of a project and project findings.
  • Publication: A structured and controlled means of communicating research results.

Lead Author

  • Assumes overall responsibility for the manuscript and often serves as the managerial and corresponding author.
  • Is not necessarily the primary investigator.

Co-Authors

Authors included in the project that are not the lead author.

Acknowledgements

Individual(s) who may have made some contribution to a publication, but who do not meet the criteria for authorship, including:

  • Staff
  • Editorial Assistants
  • Medical Writers
  • Others

The order of authorship should be based on the degree of importance of each author’s contribution to the project. This is a collective decision among the authors in a group.

Generally, examples of substantive contributions of authors include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • Aiding in the conceptualization of the hypotheses.
  • Designing the methodology of the investigation.
  • Significantly contributing to the writing of the manuscript.

These activities are not (alone) sufficient grounds for authorship:

  • Entering information into databases.
  • Collecting data (running subjects, collecting specimens, distributing and collecting questionnaires.)

Faculty-student collaborations should follow the same criteria to establish authorship. Mentors must exercise great care to neither award authorship to students who contributions do not merit it, nor deny authorship and due credit to the word of students.

Forms of unacceptable authorship include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • Ghost Authorship: occurs when a written work fails to identify individuals who made significant contributions to the research and writing of that work.
  • Guest Authorship: granted out of the appreciation of respect of an individual, or in the belief that expert standing of the guest will increase the likelihood of publication, credibility, or status of the work.
  • Gift Authorship: credit offered from a sense of obligation, tribute, or dependence, within the context of an anticipated benefit, to an individual who has not contributed to the work; also known as honorary authorship.

In the case of an authorship dispute (i.e. disagreement over authorship and order of authors), it is the responsibility of the group to resolve the problem. If a resolution cannot be reached, any concerned party from the group is encouraged to contact the Office of Research Integrity.

It is best practice to complete a mentorship agreement to describe the roles, responsibilities, and goals of the mentor-mentee relationship for the research project. This contract (Word) will be referred to in the case of mentorship disagreement/dispute.

All BSU researchers are encouraged to utilize mentorship as a means of both professional development and responsible conduction of research. This web page serves as a general guideline for consideration of the important issues and questions surrounding mentorship.

  • Mentor: An experienced and trusted advisor.
  • Mentee: An individual who is advised, trained, or counseled by a mentor.
  • Mentorship: A relationship in which a person with experience and expertise in a field guides the learning of a person with less experience and expertise.
  • Development of clear expectations of substantive learning/skills to be achieved.
  • Maintenance of a mutually respectful mentorship.
  • Identification of a focus for research.
  • Development of a timeline to achieve educational and research goals.
  • Dedication to honesty and the respect of all ethical standards.
  • Pursuit of regular feedback to improve scientific work.
  • Knowledge of policies, deadlines, and requirements of research in the university.
  • Conduct frequent team meetings with the mentee.
  • Development of clear expectations of substantive learning/skills to be achieved by the mentee.
  • Facilitation of the training and professional development of the mentee.
  • Maintenance of a mutually respectful mentorship.
  • Encouragement of a progressive level of independence and responsibility of the mentee in research.
  • Promotion of all ethical standards for conducting research and engaging in scholarly endeavors.
  • Provision of sufficient opportunities and resources to the mentee to increase level of expertise.
  • Commitment of being a supportive colleague to the mentee.
  • Provision of adequate guidance to the mentee.
  • Commitment to giving appropriate credit to the mentee in any publications resulting from the project.

Positive Mentorships

Positive mentorships are characterized by the following:

  • Provision of instruction on conducting research responsibly and encouraging the incorporation of a sound code of research behavior.
  • Improvement mentee’s self-confidence.
  • Critique and support of mentee’s research.
  • Definition of clear research focus.
  • Assistance in defining and achieving career goals.
  • Socialization of mentee into a profession.
  • Assistance in development of extensive collegial networks.
  • Advisement on how to balance work and personal life.
  • Teaching of more efficient utilization of resources.
  • Assistance in the developments of future colleagues.

Negative Mentorships

Negative mentorships are characterized by:

  • Mismatch of values, workstyle, and/or personality.
  • Disagreement in research objectives and/or protocol.
  • Lack of mentor expertise.
  • Bad attitudes.
  • Personal problems.
  • Neglect of mentorship.
  • Exploitation.
  • Inappropriate delegation of work.
  • Inappropriate distribution of credit.
  • Harassment.
  • Coercion.
  • Threats.
  • Conflicts of interest.

Negative mentorships result in:

  • Higher levels of work stress.
  • Lower levels of self-esteem.
  • A lesser likelihood of future mentorships.
  • Professional mistrust.
  • The University of California, San Francisco Faculty Mentoring Program Toolkit.
  • The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Office of Research Integrity - RCR Mentoring.