Research Integrity and the Responsible Conduct of Research
All members of the research community, including faculty, research staff, students, adjunct faculty, and visiting researchers, are expected to adhere to the highest ethical and professional standards as they pursue research activities, complying with all legal, regulatory, and ethical requirements established by the University, regulatory bodies, funding sources and professional organizations.
While expectations of ethical conduct are high, education in the responsible conduct of research has historically been uneven at best. Many researchers have received little to no training in conducting and mentoring research beyond that specific to their own disciplines. In contrast, the risks of research misconduct can be catastrophic on both a personal and institutional level.
Recognizing that responsible conduct of research is essential for promoting public trust in research and in the university, programs and materials that will increase the knowledge of and facilitate the practice of responsible research will be made available to the UMass Boston community. On-line training is strongly encouraged through completion of the CITI Course in the Responsible Conduct of Research.
The Office of Research Integrity (ORI) in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is the federal agency charged with the responsibility of oversight for the responsible conduct of research. The ORI publishes and periodically updates its Introduction to the Responsible Conduct of Research, a comprehensive guide to the responsible conduct of research.
The ORI encourages researchers to make a special effort to understand, discuss, and teach others about the responsible conduct of research. It is understood that responsible conduct of research can be taught and learned in many ways and that the standards can vary from discipline to discipline.
The following 10 categories represent those recommended instructional areas of responsible conduct of research.
- Data Acquisition, Management, Sharing and Ownership: The proper and ethical collection, representation, and retention of data; communicating clearly, honestly, and respectfully with all members of the research community.
- Conflicts of Interest and Commitment: Appropriately disclosing any relationships, financial or personal, that might be perceived to compromise one's scholarly judgment
- Publication Practices and Responsible Authorship: Appropriate credit and acknowledgments, citations, co-authorship, description of methods, representing accurately and honestly the actual observations and findings in whatever medium they are presented; using statistics and other methods of data analysis and evaluation in an appropriate and responsible manner
- Mentor/Trainee Responsibilities: Facilitating the training and development of students and other junior members of the community, ensuring that they have the opportunity to achieve their full potential; demonstrating respect, protecting their rights and welfare, and fulfilling the spirit and intent of requirements of all applicable laws, regulations, policies, and guidelines
- Peer Review: Treating all members of the research community with impartiality, respect and fairness, disclosing real or perceived conflicts of interest, and maintaining confidentiality
- Collaborative Research: Facilitating the exchange of knowledge among researchers at all levels of experience by encouraging a climate of intellectual collaboration and trust; communicating clearly
- Research with Human Participants: Demonstrating respect for all people engaged in research as participants by protecting their rights and welfare and fulfilling the spirit and intent of requirements of all applicable laws, regulations, policies, and guidelines
- Research with Animal Subjects: Treating animals used in research and instruction with attention to their welfare and in compliance with all applicable laboratory animal care laws, regulations, policies, and guidelines
- Research Misconduct: Understanding the consequences of fabrication, falsification, and plagiarism and responsibilities and protections for reporting. (Please read the UMass Boston Procedures for Responding to Alleged Research Misconduct.)
- Fiscal Responsibility and Stewardship of Resources: Demonstrating stewardship of resources by the appropriate use of research funds, care and maintenance of equipment and other research materials, and compliance with all applicable laws, regulations, policies, and guidelines for the use and disposal of hazardous substances.