Unless otherwise noted herein the information used to develop this training presentation was obtained from the following sources:

National Science Foundation (NSF)
Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide, January 2010

Department of Health and Human Services: National Institutes of Health (DHHS: NIH)
NIH Grant Policy Statement (Research Misconduct)

Office of Research Integrity (ORI)

Resources for Research Ethics Education

UAHuntsville Faculty Senate
Appendix N: Policy Regarding Ethical Standards in Research and Other Scholarly Activities at the University of Alabama in Huntsville

UAHuntsville Student Handbook
Chapter 7: Code of Student Conduct

UAHuntsville Staff Handbook
Chapter 5: Ethical Duties

A short test will follow the presentation. You must complete at least 60% of the questions correctly to receive your Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) Certificate of Completion.

© Copyright 2010-2011 The University of Alabama in Huntsville


According to statistics:

On December 6, 2000, the Office of Science and Technology Policy in the White House published the Federal Research Misconduct Policy and required all federal agencies or departments supporting intramural or extramural research to implement it within one year either through policies or regulations.

The following agencies or departments have done so: Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Defense, Department of Labor, Department of Transportation, Department of Veteran Affairs, the Environmental Protection Agency, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Science Foundation, and the Smithsonian Institution. Links are provided below to the policies or regulations that are available on-line. The Department of Energy has published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking.

The remaining five departments report that their policies have been drafted and are undergoing internal review: Agriculture, Commerce, Education, Interior, and Justice.

The National Science Foundation policy requires that for proposals submitted ON or AFTER 4 January 2010. . .

  1. An institution must have a plan in place to provide appropriate training and oversight in the responsible and ethical conduct of research to undergraduates, graduate students and postdoctoral researchers who will be supported by NSF to conduct research. As noted in GPG Chapter II.C.1.e, institutional certification to this effect is required for each proposal.
  2. While training plans are not required to be included in proposals submitted to NSF, institutions are advised that they are subject to review upon request.
  3. An institution must designate one or more persons to oversee compliance with the RCR training requirement.
  4. Institutions are responsible for verifying that undergraduate students, graduate students and postdoctoral researchers supported by NSF to conduct research have received training in the responsible and ethical conduct of research.

© Copyright 2010-2011 The University of Alabama in Huntsville


“Misconduct means fabrication, falsification, or plagiarism in proposing or performing research funded by a federal agency, reviewing research proposals submitted to a federal agency, or in reporting research results funded by a federal agency.” 45 C.F.R. §689.1

Fabrication means making up data or results and recording or reporting them.

Falsification means 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.

Plagiarism means the appropriation of another person’s ideas, processes or words without giving appropriate credit.

Science is predicated on trust. Without confidence in the integrity of their peers, scientists would be unable to trust one another’s work. Self-regulation and self-policing operate to ensure the legitimacy of research, and necessitate that scientists foster an environment in which responsible research is explicitly discussed and encouraged. Scientists should be familiar with definitions of research misconduct and procedures for dealing with it, regardless of whether they will ever be a party to allegations.

Necessity for Self-Policing
The details of how research is conducted are often known only to those actually working on a project. This relative secrecy is driven by many different factors, from sheer practicality, to protection of credit or intellectual property rights, to worries about the possible misuse of preliminary data. Where there is this secrecy, however, misconduct will only come to light if someone close to the project blows the whistle.

Dispute Resolution
Many concerns are best addressed by means other than alleging research misconduct. Some institutions have formal mechanisms in place for conflict resolution, mediation, or arbitration; absent such mechanisms, finding a solution to a dispute may require some creativity. If you suspect research misconduct, please familiarize yourself with all relevant institutional procedures. Research misconduct must be reported to the appropriate administrator, i.e., Director of Sponsored Programs, Vice President for Research, Office of Counsel, or Dean of Graduate Studies, without fear of reprisal.

© Copyright 2010-2011 The University of Alabama in Huntsville


“Mentoring refers to a developmental relationship in which a more experienced person helps a less experienced person; serve as a teacher or trusted counselor; a wise and trusted guide and advisor.”

Mentoring the next generation of scientists is a responsibility for current scientists. A mentor has experience with the challenges that will be faced by a trainee, the ability to communicate that experience, and a willingness to do so. A mentor assists the trainee in understanding and adhering to the standards of conduct within their profession. A mentor reaches responsible conduct explicitly and by example; mentoring involves both what is verbalized and what is demonstrated in practice.

Eastwood et al. (1996) found that nearly 40% of postdoctoral research fellows responding to a survey at the University of California, San Francisco reported having had no guidance in ethical research from a scientific mentor. Brown and Kalichman (1998) found that half of graduate students responding to a survey at the University of California, San Diego reported that the total time spent discussing responsible conduct of research with a major professor or advisor had been one hour or less. In a nationwide survey of doctoral students, Swazey and Anderson (1998) found that in nearly every defined dimension of training in ethics, over half of the respondents reported that faculty members provided little or no help.

An absence of adequate mentoring can have significant consequences for the integrity of research. In their survey of 2000 doctoral students, Anderson et al. found that departmental climate was the strongest predictor for misconduct (Anderson et al., 1994). Overall, misconduct was found to occur more often in those departments in which the climate favors competition and discourages collaboration. However, research misconduct occurred least often in those cases in which students felt that their advisors, or others, provided useful feedback and evaluation. These findings are consistent with the view that explicit mentoring serves to promote the responsible conduct of research and to reduce the risk of research misconduct.

Regulations and Guidelines
Despite its presumed importance, with the exception of the National Science Foundation (NSF), no regulations explicitly require or prescribe standards for mentoring. The NSF Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG) includes revised guidelines to implement the mentoring provisions of the America COMPETES Act (ACA) (Pub. L. No. 110-69, Aug. 9, 2007.) As specified in the ACA, each proposal that requests funding to support postdoctoral researchers must include a description of the mentoring activities that will be provided for such individuals. Proposals that do not comply with this requirement will be returned without review (see the PAPP Guide Part I: Grant Proposal Guide Chapter II for further information about the implementation of this new requirement).

A mentor’s role is to provide advice, help, and encouragement, to guide rather than decide for the trainee. The trainee’s responsibility is to seek out mentors and to act based on their own values, goals, and experience. Modeling good skills and behavior is a necessary element of mentoring.

By Word and Example
Effective mentoring is essential. Although mentoring alone may be insufficient, mentoring is essential to promote a positive attitude and understanding of the responsible conduct of research.

Mentoring is a shared professional responsibility of all scientists. The enterprise of science depends on effective communication not just about the science, but about the practice of science, standards of conduct, and ethical and social responsibility. Taking an active role in helping to train the next generation of scientists should not be optional; and scientific trainees have a complementary responsibility to take an active role in their own development and seek mentors.

Works Cited

Anderson MS, Louis KS, Earle J (1994): Disciplinary and departmental effects on observations of faculty and graduate student misconduct. Journal of Higher Education 65:331-350

Brown S, Kalichman MW (1988): Effects of training in the responsible conduct of research: A survey of graduate students in experimental science. Science and Engineering Ethics 4: 487-498

Eastwood S, Derish P, Leash E, Ordway S (1996): Ethical issues in biomedical research: Perceptions and practices of postdoctoral research fellows responding to a survey. Science and Engineering Ethics 2: 89-114.

Swazey JP, Anderson MS (1996): Mentors, advisors, and role models in graduate and professional education. Association of Academic Health Centers, Washington, DC.

© Copyright 2010-2011 The University of Alabama in Huntsville


1. The purpose of teaching research ethics is to promote integrity in the work of students, faculty and research staff.
     True      False
2. Blatant forms of research misconduct have included cases of:
     fabrication and plagiarism
     fabrication and falsification
     fabrication, plagiarism, and falsification
     questionable practices
3. A decision to submit a correction or retraction to a publication does not require all authors of the paper involvement.
     True      False
4. Falsification means making up data or results and recording or reporting them.
     True      False
5. Mentoring is a shared professional responsibility of all scientists, it depends on:
     Effective communication not just about the science, but about the practice of science, standards of conducts, and ethical and social responsibility.
     Taking an active role in helping to train the next generation of scientist.
     Essential to promote a positive attitude and understanding of the responsible conduct of research.
     All of the above.
6. Someone who has witnessed misconduct has an unmistakable obligation to act.
     True      False
7. If I change a few words or change the order of a few words in a sentence or paragraph, I am not committing plagiarism.
     True      False
8. If you have direct evidence that someone at UAHuntsville has committed research misconduct, to whom and how would you report the allegation?

© Copyright 2010-2011 The University of Alabama in Huntsville


A Number:
Status: Undergraduate Student
Graduate Student
Department (if Academic):
Campus Address:
Campus Phone #:
Research Supervisor (if applicable):
Research Supervisor Email:

Avoiding plagiarism, self-plagiarism, and other questionable writing practices: A guide to ethical writing
Miguel Roig, Ph.D.

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