BMS 214 Boilerplate Text
D. Plan for Instruction in the Responsible Conduct of Research
The discovery of new scientific knowledge depends upon cooperation, communication and trust among researchers. Hence the graduate programs consider formal training in the responsible conduct of research to be of paramount importance to the success of all the graduate programs at UCSF and collectively organize and deliver instruction in the responsible conduct of research.
D.1. Prior Instruction and Participation
In 2003, faculty directors of all of UCSF’s basic science graduate programs convened to discuss options for coordinating this course between UCSF’s Parnassus and Mission Bay campuses and to discuss ways of improving RCR instruction for UCSF’s graduate students, formally designated as BMS 214, “Ethics and the Responsible Conduct of Research”.
As a result of this meeting, responsibility for course coordination was assigned to the UCSF Office of Career and Professional Development, which in turn assigned a Coordinator, Bill Lindstaedt, to expand and formalize course activities. The course coordinator has completed nearly 80 hours of “train-the-trainer” instruction in RCR, designed to help staff and faculty follow best practices when designing RCR instruction.
D.2. Proposed Plans
The resulting course structure has been in place since 2005, although content is updated and improved annually (see Assessment). The course is required for all graduate students, both with and without NRSA support. The first offering of the new course was Spring, 2005, when parallel versions were begun on the Parnassus and Mission Bay Campuses to facilitate student attendance. The course is a 2-credit course that has been approved by the UCSF Academic Senate. For the past several years the course Director has been Bruce Conklin, a senior-level professor at UCSF and Senior Investigator at the Gladstone Institutes. Each year, the faculty director for the course meets with the course coordinator to review content, review student evaluations from the course, and suggest and implement improvements for the course. As a result the course evolves and improves each year.
1. Format. BMS 214 consists of seven sessions, each covering a different topic (see Subject Matter). Each topical session is offered on UCSF’s Parnassus and Mission Bay campuses during the same week during the Spring Quarter every year, so that students have two options each week for completion.
The course does not incorporate online instruction. All instruction is face-to-face, led by UCSF faculty, senior staff and recognized leaders from scientific community. Each session is managed by a research training faculty member or senior staff leader, who combines face-to-face instruction with large or small group discussion of cases. The faculty members typically distribute the cases in advance, asking students to review case content and formulate responses to scripted questions prior to the class discussion. Also, the lead faculty member for each session is asked to provide advice for students designed to help them deal confidently and effectively with the type of misconduct on topic for that day, should they encounter it.
Finally, where the subject matter is appropriate, the faculty member leading a session may bring in guest presenters. For example, during the Spring 2014 session on Data Management and Record Keeping, Professor Joe DeRisi provided a lecture and led a case discussion. He was then joined by a PhD-level intellectual property attorney from a major law firm, and a PhD-level staff member from the UCSF Office of Technology Management, who led case discussions about the impacts of proper and improper data management, the sharing of research data and scientific collaborations. Likewise, during the Spring 2015 session, senior faculty Kevin Shannon and Zena Werb team taught on issues relevant to responsible conduct with human subjects data, even when conducting basic science research.
2. Subject Matter. An essential feature of the training is that it considers global issues relevant to all biomedical sciences as well as specific issues, for example, the use of human subjects. In this way, the trainees appreciate that issues of responsible conduct permeate all of our professional endeavors, and are not limited to merely avoiding overt and egregious misconduct in research.
The seven segments of the course for the most recent 2013 course include the following topic titles and content:
(a) scientific misconduct including fabrication, falsification and plagiarism
(b) proper data management and record keeping, including sharing and ownership of data, acquiring and recording data;
(c) proper use of animals in research including issues relating to the minimization of number of subjects, species and pain. CAR review processes; antivivisectionism;
(d) human subjects in research, including the history of human subjects research, the Belmont report; human subjects committees and IRBs;
(e) responsible authorship and publication and grant making, including peer review, plagiarism, uniform requirements for manuscripts (ICMJE), confidentiality, self-plagiarism;
(f) conflict of interest issues, including corporate-academic interactions and collaborations;
(g) mentorship and being responsibly mentored, including the responsibilities of mentors and trainees, role of the mentor, conflicts between mentor and trainee, selection of a mentor and policies for handling misconduct.
3. Faculty Participation. The course director is senior research faculty member Bruce Conklin. Additionally, each session is delivered by a senior and highly respected research faculty member, senior staff leader, or nationally recognized leader of the scientific community. A list of faculty participants in included in APPENDIX ??.
4. Duration of Instruction. The course is offered through a series of seven weekly sessions. Each session involves 90 minutes of instruction and discussion, for a total of 10.5 hours of training.
5. Frequency of Instruction. Training is required for all 2nd year graduate students, and the course is offered at both of UCSF’s major campuses during the Spring Quarter of each year. Students must sign in at each session attended, and must participate in each session in order to complete the course. Students register for this 2-credit course so that full participation is required for a passing grade.
Assessment. Students are required to hand in course evaluations at the end of the final session. Comments and suggestions about course format, content, relevance, and presentation are used to improve the course in future years. This course evaluation process is thorough and direct. All students are required to assess the usefulness of each session, and all are required to provide feedback for improvement. Occasionally, entire sections of the course are redesigned to meet changing needs. For example, during the Spring of 2011, two previously offered sessions on “Funding in Science” and “Publications” were cited as having too much content overlap, so for Spring 2012, they were combined into one session on “Peer Review” and a new session was developed on “Mentoring and Being Mentored” taught by National Academies member Keith Yamamoto, who used personal histories, lecture, class discussion and case studies. Likewise, evaluations during the 2014 and 2015 cycles suggested that instruction on proper scientific record keeping was useful but delivery during the 2nd year of graduate training comes too late. Therefore, the course coordinator and director will be discussing the possibility of moving that training to a point mid-way through first year.