UNCG Research

Research Compliance becomes Research Integrity, marking new era for office

Posted on Tuesday, January 15th, 2013 by Sangeetha Shivaji.
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Research News

On December 19, 2012, Chancellor Brady approved a name change for the Office of Research Compliance. The office will now operate as the Office of Research Integrity.

The change comes at the recommendation of Provost David H. Perrin and Vice Chancellor Terri L. Shelton, with full support from the office itself. All involved find that the new name better reflects the university’s responsibility to ensure integrity and ethical practice in the conduct of research.

While the basic functions of the office will remain the same, the new name more accurately reflects the entire scope of activities for which the office is responsible.

As defined by the National Research Council of the National Academies (2002), integrity embodies a range of good research practice and conduct, including:

  • Intellectual honesty in proposing, performing, and reporting research.
  • Accuracy in representing contributions to research proposals and reports.
  • Fairness in peer review.
  • Collegiality in scientific interactions, including communications and sharing of resources.
  • Transparency in conflicts of interest or potential conflicts of interest.
  • Protection of human subjects in the conduct of research.
  • Humane care of animals in the conduct of research.
  • Adherence to the mutual responsibilities between investigators and their research participants.

Compliance with federal and state requirements and guidelines is foundational to research integrity, but the term integrity encompasses additional aspirational goals that go beyond compliance and is consistent with new requirements for the responsible conduct of research. The new Office of Research Integrity (ORI) reinforces the principle that quality research requires adherence to the highest standards of integrity in proposing, conducting, and reporting research.

The alteration in name follows several personnel shifts within the office in August 2012. Leadership of the ORI changed hands with the arrival of Interim Director Cristy McGoff and Assistant Director Melissa Beck. Meanwhile, Ms. Sherry Ritter continues to provide administrative support to the office.

Shelton and McGoff

ORI Interim Director Cristy McGoff meets with Vice Chancellor Terri Shelton

Interim Director McGoff hails from New York where she previously worked as an Assistant Director at the Teachers College of Columbia University. Ms. McGoff is no newcomer to UNCG – before leaving to devote her full attention to her family in May 2012, she served over two years as Assistant Director in the Office of Research Compliance.

In the position of Assistant Director, Melissa Beck conducts educational training sessions for faculty, staff, and students in all areas of compliance overseen by the ORI as well as the Data Safety monitoring program. Ms. Beck serves as the first reviewer for IRB protocols to ensure accuracy, ethical congruity, and compliance with federal, state, and institutional regulations and procedures. She also manages the review of all expedited and exempt IRB protocols and assists the ORI Director by providing insight in revising and updating institutional and office policies and procedures. Previously, Melissa worked at Forsyth Medical Center in Winston-Salem as IRB Coordinator. While that position largely revolved around biomedical issues, she also served on the Nursing Research Council as the IRB liaison, where she reviewed and gained experience in social-behavioral research as well as Quality Improvement and Quality Assurance research projects. In addition to holding a master’s degree in health administration and a bachelor’s degree in organizational communication, Ms. Beck is a CIP (Certified IRB Professional).

Currently, the ORI is focusing on an assessment of UNCG needs. As they proceed, they seek to emphasize a culture of open communication between their office and the university at large. Interim Director McGoff encourages UNCG personnel to contact the ORI with any and all questions they might have, as often as necessary. An open flow of information is key to a successful research enterprise.

The ORI looks forward to working with the UNCG community as we strive to do something bigger altogether.