Ethics Plan

Plan for Instruction of MERIT Scholars in the Responsible Conduct of Research

During the first year of research training, each MERIT Scholar is required to enroll in and complete the instruction in research ethics described below.

Principles of Scientific Integrity, (GRD717) a semester-long course (10, 2.5 hour sessions), provides a survey of ethical issues and principles in the practice of science.  It uses research faculty in the biomedical sciences, including MERIT Program Research Mentors and Administrators, to lead discussions on topics included in the responsible conduct of research.  Classes are taught in the following areas:

  • Ethical Decision Making
  • UAB Policies on Research Misconduct
  • Protection of Human Subjects in Research
  • Welfare of Laboratory Animals*
  • Best Practices for Data Management*
  • Identifying and Managing Conflicts of Interest*
  • Ethical Authorship and Avoiding Plagiarism
  • Best Practices in Collaborative Research*
  • Mentor and Trainee Responsibilities*
  • Expectations of the Peer Review Process*

(*class taught by MERIT Research Mentor or Administrator)

Training in human subjects and animal use: MERIT Scholars, are educated during postdoctoral orientation about requirements to complete human subjects and animal use and care training programs; completion of requisite training is arranged and documented by their research mentors.

  • IRB training: MERIT Scholars who will perform research on human subjects will complete an approved training course on human subjects protection and will update their training annually. There are a number of avenues for fulfilling this training requirement, including on-line opportunities and seminars. For example, MERIT Scholars may fulfill this requirement via completion of the web based training program Collaborative IRB Training Initiative (CITI). The CITI Program includes courses in the ‘Protection of Human Research Subjects for Biomedical as well as for Social/Behavioral Research’.  Each training module focuses on different aspects of bio-ethics and human subjects research.
  • IACUC training: MERIT Scholars who will be involved in research that utilizes animals will complete IACUC training via on-line coursework combined with individualized instruction from IACUC veterinarians. Specifically, IACUC training will review the humane use of animals in research together with related ethical issues. In addition, MERIT Scholars will receive species-specific direction in the appropriate techniques of drug administration, specimen collection, and surgery.

New scholarly integrity workshop Ethics for Authors is organized around interactive and facilitator – led discussions and exercises.  It is organized by the Professional Development Program of the Graduate School. These workshops have been hosted by departments, lab groups and journal club groups.