Responsible Conduct in Research
All UNMC doctoral graduate students and NIH supported post-doctoral fellows or trainees are required to complete and pass the Basic Biomedical RCR Modules of the CITI Program (Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative). The mandatory, web-based component was developed by CITI affiliated faculty including some from UNMC. It provides an extensive literature based review of the NIH required RCR topics, includes numerous case studies and video exercises and concludes each module with a brief content-based quiz. In itself, this web-based curriculum is not sufficient exposure to the complexities surrounding responsible conduct in research. Thus, completion of the CITI curriculum is followed by face-to-face, faculty-led discussions of a series of cases on scientific integrity and responsible conduct in research. Many of these cases have been developed by our own faculty; others are derived from “On Being a Scientist” (NAP, 3rd Ed, 2009). These sessions are scheduled throughout each semester and cover all of the suggested topics in the NIH guidelines. The students are required to attend at least 8 contact hours of these sessions but are welcome to attend them all (attendance is taken). Additional, optional but more detailed hour-long lectures with Q&A sessions on selected topics are offered each year for students, fellows and post-docs at UNMC. Previously, these have included: Mentoring and the PhD Job Market; Writing Skills; Working in Industry; Understanding the Patent World; Authorship Issues for Graduate Students; and, The Basics of NIH Grants. All other post-docs, research fellows and trainees as well as the faculty are encouraged to participate in the CITI and campus RCR Programs.
Within the context of training in scientific integrity, we consider it the mutual responsibilities of the faculty, graduate students, fellows and post-docs to find ways to enhance ethical reasoning, ethical sensitivity, or to enable a person to critically think about their role and responsibility as a researcher. Other mechanisms used to facilitate this process include various topical and research lab specific journal clubs and specialized workshops conducted throughout the campus. The rationale for our plan of instruction is to efficiently acquaint all participants with the core elements of scientific integrity and the importance of responsible conduct in research but it is not intended to be all encompassing nor the final statement on responsible conduct in research.