April 21, 2014

'The Lab: Avoiding Research Misconduct' an interactive movie on research misconduct

In addition to The Research Clinic interactive movie mentioned in the last Researcher's Alert, the Office or Research Integrity had previously released an interactive movie on research misconduct titled "The Lab: Avoiding Research Misconduct." The Lab is available in English, Spanish and Chinese.

“The Lab: Avoiding Research Misconduct" is a Virtual Experience Interactive Learning Simulation (VEILS) program. Participants will assume one of four playable roles: a graduate student, a postdoctoral student, a principal investigator, or a research integrity officer. In each segment, the character has to make decisions about how to handle possible research misconduct. The story spins off in different directions, depending upon the choices participants make as the character. The decisions that each character makes have consequences that not only affect that character’s future, but also the future of others in the lab. Each choice or combination of choices brings results that must be dealt with.”

The Characters

“You assume the role of four characters confronted with the pressures of working in a research laboratory:

  • HARDIK RAO, a postdoctoral researcher, who deals with the competitiveness in an up-and-coming lab while balancing the responsibilities of a home life.
  • AARON HUTCHINS, a principal investigator, whose overwhelming responsibilities as a professor, researcher, and grantwriter lead to his decline as a responsible mentor.
  • KIM PARK, a third-year graduate student, who questions the use of her data by another researcher.
  • BETH RIDGELY, a research administrator, who has accepted the role as the university's Research Integrity Officer and must quickly learn how to handle allegations of research misconduct.”

Take a few minutes to audition this engaging simulation.  In addition to its real-world approach, “The Lab” is a superb educational tool.  It provides credible situations that make ethical research conduct, mentor responsibilities, data sanctity and responsible authorship relevant and concrete.  We strongly urge graduate research programs to incorporate “The Lab” into their training curriculum.