Research Misconduct: Frequently Asked Questions
FAQ — Definitions?
Does the definition of “research record” include medical records?
FAQ — Notifications?
When should the Office of Research Oversight (ORO) be notified of a research misconduct allegation?
In accordance with VHA Handbook 1058.02, ORO Central Office must be further notified:
if an Inquiry determines that the case should be closed without further Investigation (par. 14.g.(2));
FAQs — RIOs?
Does the Research Integrity Officer (RIO ) have to be the Associate Chief of Staff (ACOS) for Research, the Research Coordinator, or the Research and Development Committee Chairperson?
Does the ACOS for Research have an inherent conflict of interest as the RIO?
The RIO must promptly notify the Director of all research misconduct allegations received, regardless of merit. VHA Handbook 1058.02, Paragraph 13.c.(3).
For allegations that the RIO determines to be deficient (fails to meet the required threshold), a notification of that determination must be sent to the VISN Director and retained for at least 3 years. Paragraph 13.f.(2).
ORO reviews all allegations of research misconduct for procedural conformance, including those for which the RIO or Inquiry Committee finds the evidence to be insufficient to open an Investigation. Paragraphs 14.g. and 17.
May a VA medical center (VAMC) with a small research program rely on the RIO of another VAMC instead of appointing its own RIO ?
There are important reasons for having an on-site RIO at each facility. For one, potential informants at each facility should have a point of contact that is readily accessible so that making an allegation of research misconduct is not overly burdensome. If misconduct does arise at a medical center, such a case would best be handled by a RIO housed at that facility who has the appropriate authority and familiarity with the facility in order to administer the proceedings effectively. Also, the RIO is responsible for overseeing his/her medical center's general compliance with the research misconduct procedures. An off-site RIO would not be able to accomplish this oversight responsibility as effectively as an on-site RIO .
In certain limited circumstances where appointing a permanent on-site RIO would be administratively untenable, a facility may designate a RIO who is located at another VAMC if the two facilities otherwise share research resources. Procedures should be instituted to ensure that the concerns outlined in the above paragraph are addressed. These arrangements should be discussed with ORO before making such appointments.
FAQ — Education and Training
What are the education/training requirements for a RIO ?
Attendance at conferences and meetings at which Handbook 1058.02 is presented by ORO staff;
Attendance at Employee Education System (EES) training on Administrative Investigation Boards (AIB). (Course #311);
View and Self-certify Completion of TMS Course number VA 7083 "Administrative Investigation Board (AIB) Video Concept" at https://www.tms.va.gov/;
Review of these FAQs which will be updated periodically;
Individual consultation with ORO staff in particular research misconduct cases.