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Essential Training

Ethical Challenges of Research Program

The purpose of this program is to discuss what the responsible conduct of research involves. The program is comprised of two parts: an introduction session offered every month and special topics offered every other month. The introductory session and special topics use a combination of small and large group discussions to foster effective communication and resolve problems.

Register for Introduction session now

Contemporary researchers face a variety of challenges, such as reduced federal funding, increasing publication pressures, controversies over conflicts of interest, high profile suspensions of clinical trials, and growing public scrutiny of research methods and outcomes. Success in research and professional development requires awareness of these challenges. It also requires skill in managing them and excellent communication. While professional codes of conduct and principles of responsible conduct of research offer some guidance, they may leave trainees unclear how to proceed in real world disputes or “gray areas.” To address these concerns, the UC San Diego Research Ethics Program and the Office of Postdoctoral and Research Scholar Affairs have collaborated to bring UC San Diego postdoctoral scholars the Ethical Challenges of Research Program. The purpose of this program is to discuss what the responsible conduct of research involves.  The program is comprised of two parts: an introduction session offered every month and special topics offered every other month.  The introductory session and special topics use a combination of small and large group discussions to foster effective communication and resolve problems.

Completion of the introduction session with three additional special topic sessions (2 hours each) in the Ethical Challenges series OR the Scientific Ethics course offered through the campus Research Ethics Program (ethics.ucsd.edu) will result in a certificate of training, which may be necessary for various postdoctoral funding sources, such as by NIH training and career development awards or NSF.

Postdoctoral scholars are strongly encouraged to complete the certification as part of their research training and education.

2020 Introduction Session Schedule

Register:  ECR: Intro

2020 Special Topic Session Schedule

  • Instructor: Michael Kalichman, Ph.D., Director, Research Ethics Program
  • Course offered from 12-2 pm the third Wednesday of every other month, starting in February 2020.
  • All sessions will be held in Student Services Center, room 400 unless otherwise indicated.

Authorship: Expectations and Collaborations

Science is inevitably a collaborative enterprise. As investigators tackle larger and more complex problems, research teams have grown increasingly inter-disciplinary, involving experts with varying backgrounds and sometimes-competing expectations. Collaborations involving multiple labs and/or institutions in different countries exacerbate the challenges of effective cooperation. Even collaborators within a given lab often confront thorny issues when it comes to assigning fair credit and authorship. This workshop aims to engage participants in identifying and analyzing problems in scientific collaboration. The ultimate end involves developing effective strategies for managing (or avoiding!) conflicts. This is an interactive workshop using case studies and participant experiences.

February 19, 2020

Register: ECRST: Authorship

Image Manipulation

Effective communication of science often depends on having convincing pictures. While a story can frequently be told better with a picture than words, it isn't always easy to produce a definitive image. Our goal to effectively communicate a story is also challenged because we don't want to communicate something that isn't in fact representative of the truth. With tools like Photoshop at our disposal, we have the ability to "clean up" a messy image, but is it OK to do so? It seems reasonable to expect that some kinds of manipulation of a picture should be OK, but how much is too much? This workshop will focus on the personal experiences of the participants, review some cases of published digital manipulation, and consider some standards that might be adopted as good practices in science.

April 15, 2020 via ZOOM

Register: ECRST: Image Manipulation

Data Acquisition

The integrity of research fundamentally depends on data. The purpose of this workshop will be to consider the many ways in which that integrity can be compromised without intending to do so. Participants will review some of those challenges, as well as consider strategies to protect against error due to inadequate attention or bias.

June 17, 2020 via Zoom

Register: ECRST: Data Acquisition

Whistleblowing

One of our most stressful roles is the challenge of saying something when we have reason to believe that a colleague has done something wrong. Being a whistleblower is almost never easy. How do we decide when to say something, what should we say, and to whom? And can we do so without derailing our relationships and career? While there are no guarantees, the purpose of this session will be to identify strategies and resources that will minimize the risks you encounter.

August 19, 2020

Register: ECRST: Whistleblowing

Reproducibility

Recently, it has become disturbingly clear that much of published science may not be reproducible. The problem is not so much one of research misconduct, but rather departures from good practices of science. This workshop will first consider the scope of the problem: How often is research not reproducible? Does it depend on field? What are the personal experiences of the participants in the workshop? Then, we will turn to practical questions of why research is often not reproducible and what should be done about this challenge. Our discussion will touch on topics such as authorship, collaboration, data management, mentoring, peer review, and social responsibility.

October 21, 2020

Register: ECRST: Reproducibility

Crucial Conversations: Talking to your PI

A successful science career may depend more on our interactions with others than it does on the quality of our science. Unfortunately, good science is all too often impeded by breakdowns in communication. When this happens, our emotions and reason can both sabotage our ability to find a successful resolution. This workshop will review several strategies to increase the chance that a crucial conversation will be a successful conversation.

December 16, 2020

Register: ECRST: Crucial Conversations

Dates and location are subject to change.

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