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Phillips invited to present ethics research to NSF

Trisha Phillips

West Virginia University Department of Political Science Associate Professor Trisha Phillips will present her research on promoting research integrity to the National Science Foundation on April 27. 

Scientific misconduct and questionable research practices have been a current topic of discussion in the research community. Given the harm these behaviors present to both science and the public, it is important to develop programs to promote integrity in research.

“I’ll be talking about the impact of the policy and the best practices we identified when we compared institutional plans and I’ll be making recommendations for program directors and policy makers at the NSF,” said Phillips. 

Phillips’ project analyzes the impact of the National Science Foundation’s policy on responsible conduct of research (RCR) training. Unlike the National Institutes for Health, the NSF policy mandates RCR training without specifying the format, scope, content, duration, or frequency of the training. This project analyzes the way in which research institutions have responded to this RCR mandate, highlighting exemplary programs and features.

“I'd like to see more conversation on all levels about how to support and incentivize the responsible conduct of research,” said Phillips. “Initially the way that institutions and administrators promoted research integrity was simply through a policing mechanism making sure they had policies that defined misconduct and making sure that they had mechanisms to identify and punish misconduct. Since then, practices have changed to encourage more education and provide incentives to engage in the practice of responsible research.”

Phillips’s talk is based on research conducted with Franchesca Nestor and Gillian Beach, graduate students in Political Science at WVU, and Elizabeth Heitman  Associate Professor at Vanderbilt University.