Current version: November 1995
Presents a summary of Stanford's policies and practices related to research, including a review of obligations to students, staff and sponsors.
Stanford has become one of the nation's most productive research universities during the past 100 years. Our success is due in no small part to the attention our faculty pays to all aspects of the research enterprise, including obligations to the University and to research sponsors. It's been pointed out to us that it would be a good idea to summarize Stanford's policies and practices related to research, and to publish them periodically. During this period of intense internal and external scrutiny of Stanford's accounting and other systems, it is important that we also remember our individual obligations to students, staff, and external sponsors. Thus, I ask you to take a moment to review faculty members' rights and responsibilities in the conduct of research at Stanford.
To carry out Stanford's research mission effectively, scholars are guaranteed certain freedoms. You have the right to academic freedom in the pursuit and support of research as defined in the statement of Principles Concerning Research, found in the Research Policy Handbook (document 2.1). You have the right to disseminate the results and findings of your research without suppression or modification from external sponsors beyond those provisions explicitly stated in the policy on Openness in Research (in the Research Policy Handbook, document 2.6). As a member of the Academic Council you have the right to engage in external consulting activities, subject to the University's, and in some cases your School's, limitations. It's important that we adhere to both the spirit and the letter of the policy.
Along with these freedoms come corresponding responsibilities:
Faculty members must be aware of their obligations to staff and students working as part of the research team. It is particularly important that at least annually, each faculty member should review intellectual and tangible property rights and responsibilities (for management of data in all media, for proper authorship attribution, etc.), with all members of the group under his or her direction, including staff, students, postdocs, and visiting scholars. Each member has the right to know who is sponsoring the research and supporting his or her salary or stipend.
On an individual level, the best interests of each staff member and student should be of particular concern. The University is committed to demonstrate support and appreciation for its staff. To that end, faculty members are encouraged to provide staff development opportunities and, if possible, a mentor relationship for those in their group.
HEALTH AND SAFETY:
I would like to emphasize that each faculty member is responsible for training members of his or her team in appropriate health and safety procedures for that particular research area, and for management of those procedures in his or her laboratory or other workplace. PIs are also responsible to assure the periodic inspection of lab facilities, and to cooperate in any inspections by Stanford personnel or by external agencies. (See also Health & Safety at Stanford University: Principles, Responsibilities and Practices, Research Policy Handbook document 6.2)
CONSULTING BY ACADEMIC STAFF-RESEARCH:
Please recall that on an exception basis, members of the Academic Staff-Research occasionally may be permitted to engage in outside consulting activities under conditions outlined in the Research Policy Handbook, document 4.4.
Although the legal agreement funding a sponsored project is between the sponsor and the Stanford University Board of Trustees, the overall responsibility for management of a sponsored project within funding limitations rests with the principal investigator (PI). Funds must be expended within the restrictions of the contract or grant, and if any overdraft should occur, it is the responsibility of the principal investigator to clear the overdraft by transferring charges to an appropriate account. (See also Fiscal Responsibilities of Principal Investigators, Research Policy Handbook document 3.1)
The control of both Stanford and Government-owned equipment is mandatory under Stanford's externally sponsored contracts and grants as well as under University policy. Principal Investigators are responsible for securing necessary approvals for the purchase of the equipment, and for proper tagging, inventory, and disposal of equipment. (See also Control of Property, Research Policy Handbook document 3.12)
The cost of proposal preparation activities in support of NEW directions in research may not be charged to sponsored projects. Department Chairs and School Deans must ensure that non-sponsored project funds are available to offset the portion of the investigator's and his or her staff's salaries from sponsored projects for effort spent preparing proposals to support new directions in research. The cost of proposal preparation efforts for continuing research is appropriately charged to current projects. Also, should there be questions on which direct costs are subject to indirect costs as proposal budgets are prepared, please refer to the appropriate documents in the Research Policy Handbook.
CERTIFICATION OF SALARIES CHARGED TO SPONSORED PROJECTS:
Stanford is required by the Federal Government to document effort charged to sponsored projects. It is the responsibility of each department chair and dean to see that a system is in place to ensure that the PIs in their areas fulfill the requirement for review and certification of salaries, and to assure that salaries charged to sponsored projects correspond to effort expended on those projects, within the appropriate limitation for their School.
TECHNICAL AND INVENTION REPORTS:
Please remember to submit sponsor-required reports through the Office of Sponsored Research (OSR) on a timely basis. If you send the report directly to your project monitor, please send a copy to OSR at the same time so that contract and grant files may be complete.
PATENTS AND COPYRIGHTS:
All participating researchers, including postdocs, students, and visiting scholars, must sign Stanford's Patent and Copyright Agreement (SU-18) before the commencement of any research activities. (See also Inventions, Patents and Licensing, Research Policy Handbook document 5.1 and Copyright Policy, Research Policy Handbook document 5.2)
CONFLICT OF INTEREST:
The key to Stanford's policy pertaining to conflict of interest is the trust in the integrity of the individual faculty member to disclose any situation that could lead to real or apparent conflict of interest. Stanford policy requires an annual certification of compliance and disclosure of potentially conflicting relationships. In addition, situations which arise during the year in which outside obligations have the potential for conflict with the faculty member's allegiance and responsibility to the University require a prompt ad hoc disclosure. (See also Faculty Policy on Conflict of Commitment and Interest, Research Policy Handbook document 4.1).
Faculty members also need to ensure that approved research protocols for the use of human and animal subjects in research are obtained and followed. (See also Administrative Panels on Research Compliance, Research Policy Handbook document 1.4)
This discussion has centered on those rights and responsibilities which are collected as written University policies. Please remember that there are academic obligations which may be unwritten, but are just as important.