The Office of Research Integrity (ORI) supports ethical research practice at Iowa State University through the Conflicts of Interest in Research, Export Controls, and Research Integrity programs.
ORI assists investigators by answering questions regarding COIC policies and procedures, reviewing annual conflict of interest and commitment disclosures, and facilitating the conflict of interest management plan process.
Conflicts of interest involve circumstances where an individual’s professional actions or decisions at the university could be influenced by considerations of personal gain, usually of a financial nature, as a result of interests outside his/her university responsibilities.
Conflicts of interest are not inherently bad and are part of a vibrant and engaged university. All ISU faculty, P&S staff, postdoctoral associates, and graduate assistants must complete a Conflicts of Interest and Commitment disclosure at least once annually. Both perceived and real conflicts must be disclosed and managed to protect the individual or entity involved, and to protect the integrity of the research or other decision-making process.
ORI is available to assist investigators by reviewing projects and activities for export control issues, responding to questions, and implementing plans to manage export controlled items or technologies.
Export control regulations affect not only international shipments of tangible items; they also control the transfer of technical data or technology to non-US persons anywhere, even at ISU.
While most research conducted at ISU is excluded from these regulations, research involving specified technologies or items, transactions or exchanges with designated countries, individuals and entities, or contractual provisions may require the University to obtain prior approval from the sponsor and/or appropriate government agency before allowing foreign nationals to participate in research, collaborating with a foreign company and/or sharing research with persons who are not U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents.
The consequences of violating these regulations can be quite severe, ranging from loss of research contracts to monetary penalties to prison time for the individual violating these regulations.
Conduct that jeopardizes research integrity undermines the advancement of knowledge, erodes public support, wastes resources and may jeopardize safety and health. For this reason, Iowa State University prohibits research misconduct and encourages all members of the University community to report observed, suspected, or apparent research misconduct.
Research misconduct means fabrication, falsification, or plagiarism in proposing, performing, or reviewing research or in reporting research results. It also includes ordering, advising or suggesting that subordinates engage in research misconduct. The misconduct must depart significantly from accepted practices of the relevant research community and must be committed intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly. It does not include honest error or differences of opinion.
Allegations of research misconduct are handled by a Research Integrity Officer (RIO) appointed by the Vice President for Research. All members of the University community are encouraged to report observed, suspected, or apparent research misconduct to the RIO. If an individual is unsure whether a suspected incident falls within the definition of research misconduct, he or she may meet with or contact the RIO to discuss the suspected research misconduct.
All information regarding possible instances of research misconduct, including the identity of the person accused and the individual making the allegation, is confidential. ISU prohibits retaliation against individuals who make allegations of research misconduct in good faith and any witnesses or others who cooperate in good faith with research misconduct proceedings.
Research misconduct concerns may also be reported on the ISU Compliance and Ethics Hotline.
ORI Introduction to the Responsible Conduct of Research by Nicholas Steneck: This is a “must read” introduction to responsible research suitable for students, postdocs, early career investigators, and others who care about responsible research. It covers authorship practices, mentoring, data management, use of humans and animals in research, research misconduct, etc.
The Lab: Avoiding Research Misconduct: This interactive video allows the viewer to play four different roles in a case of suspected research misconduct. It is a highly enjoyable and informative exercise and a “must view” for students, postdocs, principal investigators, and others who suspect a colleague of research misconduct. It also looks into the pressures facing researchers and errors made by principal investigators that can lead to misconduct.
Responding to Research Wrongdoing: A User-Friendly Guide: This guide helps persons who suspect a colleague of cutting corners decide whether and how to approach the suspect informally, potentially stopping misconduct before it happens. It also explains what happens if misconduct occurs and must be handled formally.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Research Integrity: This site, maintained by the lead federal organization for assuring research integrity, contains a wide variety of information for faculty, students, and administrators on the responsible conduct of research and research misconduct.
Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI) RCR Training: Online modules that cover a variety of aspects of the responsible conduct of research.
Brooke Langlitz, JD
Conflicts of Interest:
2420 Lincoln Way, Ste. 202
Ames, Iowa 50014
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