OVPR launches online courses
A new Web-based instructional and certification program about responsible research conduct is being offered to the U-M community and will become required for certain principal investigators (PIs) and co-investigators (Co-Is). The Program for Education and Evaluation in Responsible Research and Scholarship (PEERRS) was created by the Office of the Vice President for Research. It provides a series of modules designed to help researchers and administrators understand their responsibilities to subjects and the research community.
"While I am confident in the commitment of our faculty and staff to conducting research according to the highest standards, the number and complexity of the rules and regulations covering research have convinced me that the University needs to provide short courses such as PEERRS offers," says Fawwaz Ulaby, vice president for research.
Initially, PEERRS will present modules on the following subjects:
• Foundations of responsible research conduct (publication/authorship, intellectual property, conflict of interest, signatures, plagiarism, misconduct reporting);
• Research administration (U-M procedures/forms, PI responsibilities, pre- and post-award activities, federal regulations, and important contacts);
• Conflict of interest guidelines (definitions and recognizing potential conflicts, responsibilities toward students/colleagues, consulting and conflict of commitment, sponsored project and technology transfer issues);
• Human research, regulatory and ethical obligations (basic module covering definition of human subjects research, why human subject research is regulated, and regulatory responsibilities of the PI, the Institutional Review Board and U-M);
• Animal research, regulatory and ethical obligations (principles and regulations for animal care and use, reporting requirements and obtaining approval).
Each module consists of 20-30 Web pages containing the core material, short case studies with questions, and pop-ups with additional information to provide greater depth and elaboration. A certification test also is provided for each subject area. The modules and tests have been developed by expert faculty and staff, reviewed by the relevant campus oversight committees, and approved by the deans and executive officers.
As of Dec. 1, 2003, PIs and Co-Is on certain sponsored projects (see table) must be certified in the PEERRS system before they are allowed to spend funds from newly established sponsored research projects. Other faculty, staff and students also may need PEERRS certification, depending on their research roles and a determination by the dean of their school or college.
All members of the University community are welcome to visit the PEERRS Web site, http://my.research.umich.edu/peerrs/, view the modules and become certified. Logon requires a U-M uniqname and password.
The first time a user logs on to PEERRS, the system asks a few questions about the users' home units and roles in research. Based on the responses, a customized curriculum is presented, with courses either "required," "recommended" or "optional." "Required" means that the user must pass a certification test of five-10 questions with a score of 80 percent or better. The tests are generated randomly from a bank of questions developed for each module. Users may take a test as many times as necessary to attain a passing grade. In brief, certification will be required for groups on campus as shown in the chart below.
PIs will be responsible for identifying research staff and students from their teams who should have PEERRS certification. Other faculty, staff and students may have certification requirements as determined by the dean of their school or college. Unit specific requirements are posted at http://www.research.umich.edu/training/peerrs.html and will be displayed on a user's customized curriculum page after completing the entry questionnaire.
Questions about PEERRS should be directed by email to email@example.com, or to Lee Katterman, Office of the Vice President for Research, at (734) 647-9085.