Guidelines for the Responsible Conduct of Research

Principal Investigators and Research Team Leaders

Principal investigators and research team leaders are responsible for the overall scientific and technical quality of individual projects conducted under their auspices. They must set a positive example by their actions and behavior. They need to be sensitive to social and ethical issues that bear upon their research programs, and they are primarily responsible for meeting all governmental and institutional requirements concerning research in humans as well as the use of laboratory animals, radioisotopes, other hazardous products, and recombinant DNA. Principal investigators and research team leaders bear particular responsibility for resolving issues relating to health and safety in their laboratories. They are also expected to identify potential conflicts of interest which may bias the research under their direction, and to disclose such conflicts to the university, to funding agencies, and to journal editors. All students engaging in research on human subjects or on animals are required to complete the certification requirements for these activities.

Research Mentors and their Trainees

Research mentors and their trainees require frequent collegial interactions to assure optimal conduct of research. At least one senior faculty member should supervise (with mutual assent) all individuals in a laboratory who are not acknowledged independent investigators. If more than one mentor is supervising and training a junior individual, one of the mentors should be expressly designated as having overall responsibility. Mentors should commit themselves to spend the time required for adequate supervision. Moreover, the ratio of trainees to available mentors should be small enough to encourage close and frequent interactions concerning all aspects of research undertaken by a trainee or junior investigator, including the planning and design, data interpretation, and preparation of reports. Trainees have both the right and responsibility to be certain that they are adequately supervised during their research training and that the research itself is performed in a manner which re.ects high standards for the responsible conduct of science.

Management of Data

Everyone who engages in scholarly inquiry in the School of Medicine is responsible for collecting and maintaining research data in an orderly and systematic manner which will permit ready retrieval even by those who are not familiar with the intricacies of the research or the habits of the investigator. Once investigators have published a detailed report of their .ndings, they should cooperate in making readily available to others who wish to con.rm their work any data necessary to replicate the published work, such as complete DNA sequences or minor methodological details, even if a journal had not requested the information or had refused to print it. Although investigators should be as certain as possible about the validity of their findings before making their research public, the School of Medicine does not condone secrecy or uncooperative behavior which unnecessarily delays scientific progress or which deliberately misleads others working in the same field.

Authorship of Scientific Papers

The increasingly specialized and technical nature of biomedical research requires that investigators understand and properly fulfill the responsibilities with respect to authorship of scientific publications, especially publications which result from multidisciplinary collaborative research. Senior faculty members and principal investigators of sponsored research bear particular responsibility for the assignment of authorship to publications emanating from their laboratories as well as for the cohesiveness and validity of these publications.