Info by Topic Area

It is the responsibility of those conducting scientific investigations to understand the rules and guidelines put in place by their government, institution, funding agency, and discipline to uphold research integrity. Each of the following links provides information specific to a core area of responsible conduct in research, as well as links to other resources.

Animal Care and Use

Animal research is as carefully regulated as human research, but for different reasons. With humans, regulation stems from the need to assure that the benefits all humans gain from human research do not impose unacceptable burdens on some research participants. Animals may benefit from the information gained through animal experimentation and some research with animals is conducted specifically for the purpose of improving animal health (veterinary medicine and animal husbandry research). But most animal research is conducted primarily for the benefit of humans, not animals.

 When a doctoral researcher learns that her major professor will expand her research using amphibians to include mammals, she is horrified. Why are there more objections to using some animals in research compared to others?

Collaborative Science

Researchers increasingly collaborate with colleagues who have the expertise and/or resources needed to carry out a particular project. Collaborations can be as simple as one researcher sharing reagents or techniques with another researcher. They can be as complex as multi-centered clinical trials that involve academic research centers, private hospitals, and for-profit companies studying thousands of patients in different states or even countries.

 Researchers from three public universities plan to develop interventions for certain geriatric conditions following strokes. Who should submit the proposal? Do all three researchers need to apply for IRB approval?

Conflict of Interest

Researchers’ interests can and often do conflict with one another. The advancement of knowledge is usually best served by sharing ideas with colleagues, putting many minds to work on the same problem. But personal gain is sometimes best served by keeping ideas to oneself until they are fully developed and then protected through patents, copyrights, or publications. Legitimate research interests can create competing responsibilities and lead to what is commonly called conflicts of interest.

 A doctoral student developed a compound that may be used in the future for premature infants. Who will own the compound?

Environmental Health and Safety

The Florida State University’s Department of Environmental Health and Safety, under the Division of Finance and Administration , promotes a safe and healthy environment for all members of the community. they accomplish this mission by: supporting involvement of all faculty, staff and students in the success of our health and safety program, promoting health and safety as a part of every classroom, laboratory and work site in order to enhance knowledge of safe and healthy practices, providing the means by which each University community member can take charge of his/her own personal health, providing accessibility and advice on health and safety regulations, procedures and standards and helping ensure continued compliance and setting a good example by practicing and promoting safe behaviors.

Export Controls

Florida State University is committed to compliance with federal laws and regulations governing exports and ensuring such compliance is consistent with the University's open academic environment that fosters intellectual creativity, freedom to carry out research in an unrestricted manner, and the open dissemination of research results. All activities undertaken by our University community, including research activities, must comply with the export control regulations and University policies, procedures, and standards. The U.S. export control laws and associated regulations govern: 1.) The release of technology, technical data, software, and information to foreign nationals within or outside the U.S.; 2.)The furnishing of defense services to foreign persons whether in the United States or abroad; 3.) The shipment or other transmission of items or defense articles outside the United States; and 4.) The ability to transact with certain individuals, entities, and countries.

Human Subjects

The use of human subjects in research benefits society in many ways, from contributing to the development of new drugs and medical procedures to understanding how we think and act. It also can and has imposed unacceptable risks on research subjects. To help ensure that the risks do not outweigh the benefits, human subjects research is carefully regulated by society. Investigators who conduct research involving humans that is subject to regulation must comply with all relevant Federal regulations as well as any applicable state and local laws, regulations, and policies related to the protection of hu­man subjects.

Intellectual Property

The FSU Office of Commercialization (OC) is responsible for the identification, protection and commercialization of intellectual property developed as a result of scholarly research at Florida State University.  In this capacity, the office transfers university innovation, creativity, discovery and technology to the commercial marketplace for public use and benefit. We provide assistance to FSU faculty, researchers and students, industry partners, entrepreneurs and investors.

Mentor/ Trainee Responsibilities

While conducting investigations, researchers often assume the added role of mentors to mentees. The mentor-mentee relationship is complex and brings into play potential conflicts. Knowing the importance of personal commitments, researchers should carefully consider what responsibilities they have to mentees before they take on the essential task of training new researchers. Mentees, in turn, should be we aware of their responsibilities to mentors before accepting a position in a laboratory or program.

What responsibilities do mentors and mentees have for one another?

Peer Review

Peer review—evaluation by colleagues with similar knowledge and experience—is an essential component of research and the self-regulation of professions. The average person does not have the knowledge and experience needed to assess the quality and importance of research. Peers do.

 A researcher received a request from a peer-reviewed journal to review the work of another faculty member at a public university. He wants to help, but he is involved in his own research and is reviewing two other articles. What are his choices?

Public Access, Open Access, Open Data, Data Management

Data collection and analysis is a fundamental aspect of scientific investigation. Researchers must give careful consideration to how data will be collected, managed, and analyzed before an investigation even begins. The question of what is Public Access (PA), Open Access (OA), or Open Data may become a question over time. As such, it is important to become familiar with the federal requirements surrounding availability and access, redistribution of information and universal participation. 

Publication Practices and Responsible Authorship

The results of research projects are commonly shared through publication, and a researcher's publication record is often used as an indicator of their productivity and success. Violations of research integrity may occur if a researcher under pressure to rapidly produce numerous publications decides to take certain shortcuts. Integrity may also become an issue if a researcher decides to include undeserving authors on a publication. Disagreements regarding authorship are common, so one should be aware of the guidelines set by their field or working group before research begins.

A graduate student collected all the data for a particular project and turned it over to his PI for analysis and publication. He later notices the final draft of the publication on his PI's desk and is disappointed to see he is not included as an author. Is he justified in his expectation of authorship?

Research Misconduct

Avoidance of research misconduct may seem to be a matter of common sense. Anyone in a research field should already be aware that practices such as making up data or taking credit for the work of others are wrong, but instances of research misconduct do occur and can be very damaging to the public’s trust of science. For this reason it is important to be able to recognize and know how to report instances of research misconduct when they occur. Federal and institutional policies are in place to provide guidance on these issues.