Author: Charlotte Anthony | Category: March 30, 2015
Postdoctoral trainees and graduate students joined in a game
of Responsible Conduct for Research (RCR) Jeopardy as part of the March’s
Spotlight on Research Integrity workshop.
on Research Integrity is a monthly workshop that features notable speakers
from inside and outside of the university and is designed to promote meaningful
and sometimes controversial discussion of difficult issues in contemporary
Dr. Linda McManus, director of Postdoctoral Affairs at the
UT Health Science Center, explained that the workshop was designed to help
people learn about responsible conduct.
Trainees are generally aware but not really in depth aware
of RCR. We teach them a course the first year of graduate school and postdocs
have also received training but details are elusive,” Dr. McManus said. “Until
you have to use it or think about it or answer questions about it you don’t
incorporate it into your routine. I wanted to help them realize that there are
a lot of things going on around them.”
Dr. Teresa Evans, director of the Office of Career Development,
said that using the Jeopardy format was a good way to interact with the audience.
“The goal was to showcase responsible conduct of research
topics in an innovative and fun way,” Dr. Evans said. “We wanted to make sure
that we stimulated discussion but also provided maximum opportunity for
The game was centered around five topics: egregious
scientists, rules and enforcers, authorship, misconduct and science and
society. The categories were chosen because of topics by the National Institute
“Many of the trainees are on NIH grants and it’s important
for them to engage in a continuous discussion about responsible conduct,” Dr.
Sifuentes, a Ph.D. candidate in the pharmacology program, said that
responsible conduct is extremely important for researchers.
“Research is highly competitive and researchers are
used to meeting high expectations. By looking at examples of bad science,
unethical practices, and how this impacts society, we can get a better grasp on
how misconduct can really have destructive effects,” Sifuentes said. “It’s
important for grad students and trainees to learn about responsible conduct in
research because the temptation to embellish data, look the other way, and cave
in to pressure is strong.”
McManus explained that responsible conduct reflects the state of science and
misconduct taints that image.
don’t have to memorize the manual but you do need to realize that the rules
exist and they should be aware of them,” Dr. McManus said. “You don’t want to
be on the front page of the paper. If the public sees data embellished by a
scientist, it will lead to wider distrust. It’s important for our trainees
understand these issues and how they reflect on us as a whole.”
agreed and believes that misconduct not only builds mistrust in the community
but overall hurts the research environment.
bending the truth, cutting corners, or promoting an agenda, irresponsible
scientists set us back in terms of the data they have produced and the research
that was based on that misinformation,” Sifuentes said.
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