The Office of Research provides training, guidelines, and assistance for all aspects of research. "The University Research Compliance Officer ("RCO") acts to oversee and ensure research compliance with regulations applicable to the use of human and animal subjects, biosafety and pre-award grants administration. In this capacity, the RCO ensures that all research conducted at the University adheres to the applicable federal and state regulations." (Office of Research, n.d., http://tulane.edu/asvpr/research-compliance.cfm).
Brian J. Weimer, JD
1440 Canal Street
Suite 2425, TW5
New Orleans, LA 70112
Prior to engaging in a research project involving either human or animal subjects, it is vital that you understand the importance of conducting ethical research and the ethical principles and codes used in your field as well as Institutional, State, and Federal laws.
Government funding agencies as well as individual Universities all have policies regarding the ethical treatment of human and animal subjects in research. Federal laws and regulations such as HIPPA are also in effect and it is your responsibility as a researcher and member of the scientific community, to conduct research ethically and responsibly.
Human Participants: One statement of ethical principles by which to follow (at minimum) is The Belmont Report. (1976). The Belmont Report is intended to " assist in resolving the ethical problems that surround the conduct of research with human subjects". In general, just some of the things to consider when working with human participants include:
IRB: In order to be approved to work with Human Participants, one must apply to and receive permission from Tulane's Institutional Review Board (IRB). The submission of an IRB proposal must begin early in the research process as it can take approximately 6 months before one receives a response.
CITI Training Program: Tulane researchers must complete the CITI Training Program. CITI provides training on many different research topics including: Animal care and use,Good clinical practice, Information privacy and security, Human subjects research, Responsible Conduct of Research, and many more.
Animal Subjects: There is a long historical and ethical debate surrounding the use of animals in scientific and medical experiments. This 2012PowerPoint and activities from the Animal Welfare Information Center (AWIC) at the National Agricultural Library, U.S. Department of Agriculture provides a good overview of this debate as well as current policies and information including the Animal Welfare Act. Something one should always take into consideration before engaging in research is the 3Rs (Replace, Reduce, Refine) presented in the 1959 Russell and Burch publication The Principles of Humane Experimental Technique
IACUC: To work with animals a proposal detailing the rationale behind the research, number of animals used, tests performed, drugs used, training of staff, and a detailed search of any possible animal alternatives must be submitted to Tulane's Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee. This is a time consuming process which often requires revision.
Ethical behaviour in research is not only limited to the experimental process. Ethical behavior is expected by all whether the work being conducted is for academic or publication purposes. Any lapse in ethical behavior can have a significantly negative (possibly terminal) impact on your career. Other research ethical issues to consider include:
Resnik, D. B. (2011). What is ethics in research and why is it important. Retrieved from http://www.niehs.nih.gov
University of Minnesota Center for Bioethics (2003). A guide to research ethics. Retrieved from http://www.ahc.umn.edu/img/assets/26104/Research_Ethics.pdf