Assessing the Preparedness of Research Integrity Officers (RIOs) to Appropriately Handle Possible Research Misconduct Cases

Science and Engineering Ethics 18 (4):605-619 (2012)
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Abstract

Institutions receiving federal funding for research from the U.S.Public Health Service need to have policies and procedures to both prevent research misconduct and to adjudicate it when it occurs. The person who is designated to handle research misconduct is typically referred to as the research integrity officer (RIO). In this interview study we report on 79 RIOs who describe how they would handle allegations of research misconduct. Their responses were compared to two expert RIOs. The responses to the allegations in the scenarios demonstrated that RIOs are not uniformly well prepared to handle activities associated with reported allegations of research misconduct. We recommend greater preparation through directed training, use of check lists of possible behaviors necessary to consider when situations arise, being involved in a network of RIOs so one can discuss options, and the possible need to certify RIOs.

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David Wright
Aston University

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