Demetra Schoenig and Brandi Wampler | December 16, 2019
Whistleblowing, or the voluntary reporting of potential misconduct, is critical for the detection and discouragement of misconduct. Yet certain factors, like the potential negative impact on a career or awareness of institutional policies and resources, can prevent individuals from speaking up. To improve whistleblower protections and policies, researchers at the University of Notre Dame have received an award from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to identify such hurdles and brainstorm ways around them, within the arena of research misconduct.
Led by Allan Loup, assistant program director for ethics for the Graduate School at Notre Dame, the research program will enlist graduate student and postdoctoral scholars as participants. In discussing their role in the study, he said, “We know that graduate students and postdocs are among the best positioned to witness research misconduct. But they’re also among the most vulnerable to retaliation for speaking up. Since whistleblower protections can be key for ensuring integrity and public trust in research, we’re inviting our students to think hard about research ethics and to come up with ideas for how the system could be improved.” Participants will examine the topic in groups and produce recommendations, and their feedback will also be used to assess levels of self-confidence in reporting research misconduct, willingness to support other whistleblowers, and the factors that make reporting difficult.
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