New compliance staffing reflects Ohio State commitment to research integrity

University effort also includes strengthened training, data management, policies

By: Chris Davey

Published on February 23, 2018

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The appointment of a new assistant vice president for research compliance is one component of The Ohio State University’s comprehensive initiative to ensure its research enterprise is operated with the highest standards of integrity, according to university leaders.

Susan Garfinkel, most recently director of the Division of Investigative Oversight, Office of Research Integrity at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), joined Ohio State in December. She is responsible for helping to strengthen and implement research compliance programs and policies as well as university policies to promote ethical research practices, and serves as the senior coordinator concerning research misconduct, providing oversight and advice to the university’s research integrity officers.

Susan Garfinkel

In conjunction with Associate Vice President for Research Compliance Jennifer Yucel, Garfinkel also works with faculty and administrative units to ensure that the university is compliant with federal and state regulations regarding export controls, conflict of interest, research misconduct, international research and research data security.

At HHS, Garfinkel supervised scientist-investigators on case management and investigative strategy for research misconduct cases in all fields of biomedical research, and also previously served as a scientist-investigator. She earned a B.A. in biology from the State University of New York at Binghamton and a Ph.D. in genetics from George Washington University.

“It speaks to the quality of our research compliance operation that we were able to attract Susan to this position. And this means that now not just one, but two of the people in the United States who are regularly asked to be keynote speakers on research integrity are employed by Ohio State,” Executive Vice President and Provost Bruce A. McPheron recently told the Board of Trustees. “Jen Yucel and Susan Garfinkel are acknowledged national leaders in this area.”

McPheron also reported to trustees at their February meeting about the university’s responsibility, as a “powerhouse of generating new knowledge,” to build upon existing strengths by adopting policies and procedures that meet the highest standards of academic research integrity. This includes providing exceptional support to the scholars doing the work – a goal outlined in the university’s new strategic plan. To that end, Garfinkel will work with faculty, staff, students and administrative units to build awareness and develop strategies for effective ways to minimize and manage compliance risks.

McPheron said administrators and faculty have spent several months working on a research integrity plan that is in early stages of implementation, beginning with expansion of an intensive “responsible conduct of research” training requirement to an estimated 25,000 members of the research community. The university also has made electronic lab notebook technology available to all researchers and instructors, enabling them to maintain and organize their data, and is developing policies and infrastructure to ensure the research community functions as effectively as possible in an increasingly complex world.

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