Skip to Main Content

Ethical Research Policies: Ethics Symposium 2011

Symposium Sponsors

The 2011 Ethics Symposium was sponsored by:

Ethics Symposium 2011

Ethics Symposium for Faculty & Grad Students

Tuesday, Sept 27, 2011

Objectives of the symposium:

  1. To develop direction for a core campus-wide curriculum to support requirements.
  2. To identify best practices of responsible conduct of research at UF.
  3. To raise awareness of ethics-related requirements of grant funding agencies and accreditation boards.
  4. To introduce a resource database of compiled ethics codes and case studies.

8:45-9:00am: Welcoming Remarks: Cammy Abernathy, Ph.D., Dean, College of Engineering

9:00-9:15am: Objectives of the Symposium

9:15-10:15am: Keynote Speaker:  Don McCabe, Ph.D (Rutgers University) Ethics Expert: “Frontiers of Ethics in Academia: best practices nationally and internationally."  

10:30-11:45am: UF Environmental Scan

  • Facilitator: Sandra Russo, Director of Program Development and Federal Relations, UF's International Center, and Co-PI of the NSF Grant I-Cubed
  • STEM Grad student survey, Gaming Against Plagiarism (NSF Grant) - Michelle Leonard, Marston Science Librarian and PI, NSF Grant for Gaming Against Plagiarism
  • AITF: charge and activitiesStephanie Hanson, Ph.D., Executive Associate Dean and clinical professor at the UF College of Public Health and Health Professions, and Co-chair of the UF Academic Integrity Task Force
  • Health Science Center activities – Bill Allen, Ph.D., Program Director, Program in Bioethics, Law and Medical Professionalism, UF Health Science Center
  • "Wanted: A New Model for RCR Training" - Wayne T. McCormack, Ph.D., and Director of the Clinical & Translational Science TL1 Predoctoral Training Program, UF Clinical & Translational Science Institute.
  • Assessment of UF activities - Don McCabe, Ph.D. Ruters University

11:45am-12:30pm: Lunch:

  • Introduce a resource database of compiled ethics codes and case studies – Denise Bennett, Marston Science Librarian
  • Responsible Conduct of Research -- Cathy Striley, Ph.D., Dept. of Epidemiology

12:30-1:30pm:  Breakout workshops:

Potential RCR subtopics for table discussions:

  • Research Misconduct: Fabrication and Falsification
  • Research Misconduct: Plagiarism
  • Collaborative Science
  • Mentor / Trainee Responsibilities
  • Publication Practices and Responsible Authorship
  • Peer Review Process and Responsibilities
  • Data Acquisition
  • Data Management
  • Data Sharing
  • Data Ownership
  • Treatment of Human Subjects
  • Treatment of Animal Subjects
  • Conflict of Interest and Commitment
  • Dual-use Technology
  • Defining “accepted practices” in your field

1:30-2:00pm: Reporting out from breakouts

2:00-2:15pm: Wrap-up: all speakers and panelists

2:15-2:30pm: Concluding remarks: Sobha Jaishankar, Ph.D., UF Assistant Vice President for Research

Executive Summary

Symposium breakout notes

Topic 1)  (combined) Conflict of Interest and Treatment of Human Subjects

Concerns on campus:

Institutional pressure to produce:

  • products / technology transfer
  • securing additional grants

These pressures result in:

  • cutting corners or changing rules in the middle of a grant or project
  • more emphasis on self-interest and less emphasis on public good

Research Coordinators: under-recognized for their responsibilities in mentorship and mediation:

  • between the grant as written and the PI’s subsequent interpretation
  • between student volunteers and their project/internship advisors
  • may be potential targets for blame if any wrongdoing
  • with untenured status, have no protection

Potential Solutions for UF:

  • Establish certification, training, and career paths for research coordinators, tied to skill sets in the field   
  • Establish a Research Volunteer Office to coordinate training and expectations
  • Develop institutional integration of all levels involved in research efforts
  • Goal: to maintain trust in research and researchers

Topic 2) Research Misconduct: Fabrication, Falsification, and Plagiarism

Concerns on campus:

  • attribution and use of research without citing
  • more challenging in information age, where new info hits to quickly to trace ideas
  • general knowledge – what is plagiarism?
  • awareness of acceptable/unacceptable sources (e.g., Wikipedia)
  • awareness of tools: RefWorks, Turnitin
  • ethical shortcomings in faculty
    • review process of allegations: coverups, lengthy, repercussions for whistleblowers
    • training needed in standards, codes, clear rules
    • training needed at all levels: undergrads, grads, post-docs, staff, faculty
    • consequences: severity, remediation, protection of faculty, underreporting
    • unethical practices observed by mentees
  • patient data - protection

Potential Solutions for UF:

  • Clearly define offenses; explain why they are wrong
  • Develop consequences/remediation
  • Target international education
  • Develop clear, standard procedures for reporting misconduct

Topic 3) Mentor/Mentee relationship

Concerns on campus:

  • Poor mentoring
  • Not understanding or respecting differences: international, cross-cultural, cross-gender, cross-language

Potential Solutions for UF:

  • Clarify roles of mentors/mentees, e.g., the AAMC compact
    • Include Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) and Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI) training
  • Advisory Board oversight and ombuds to mediate
  • Value mentoring in the T&P process

Topic 4) Authorship and Attribution

Concerns on campus:

  • Practices vary widely; not well-charted across disciplines
  • Commonality: what constitutes intellectual contribution worthy of attribution?
  • Ethical issues involved in:
    • Demanding credit inappropriately
    • Failing to give credit
  • Ethical issues mediated by:
    • Power
    • Journals (policies, prestige)
    • Custom

Potential Solutions for UF:
All agree issues of authorship affect UF’s integrity and accountability

Topic 5) Peer Review

Concerns on campus:

  • Grad students, post-docs, and junior faculty may have no prior training
  • In small fields, concern about maintaining anonymity, impartiality, objectivity
  • Prevent problems (copyediting, etc.) before peer review; take advantage of services for authors
    • how to separate content from presentation
  • Level of work required
  • Effect on your own work – perception of value

Potential Solutions for UF:

  • Add rubrics to Ethics Guide – for manuscripts, grants, posters
  • Increase awareness of support or services for authors
    • on campus (fee based?), professional editors
  • Include in future ethics training courses
  • Develop peer review workshops – can be online, but not preferred
  • Serve on journal review boards as interns
University of Florida Home Page

This page uses Google Analytics - (Google Privacy Policy)

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.