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Student researchers have new ethics advice option at MSU

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Students engaged in research at Mississippi State University have access to a new tool that offers guidance in making responsible decisions when it comes to issues surrounding the responsible conduct of research (RCR).

A new policy recently approved by the university -- Research Ethics Consultation for Students Participating in University-Sponsored Research -- provides a resource for students to confidentially discuss research issues of ethical concern, said Katie Echols, the education and outreach coordinator for the Mississippi Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research.

Echols and fellow MSU political science and public administration graduate students -- Dennis Farris Jr., Leigh-Ann Sallis and Braxton Stowe -- wrote the policy as their capstone project under the direction of Marty Wiseman and Kesha Perry from the Stennis Institute of Government and Community Development.

Trisha Phillips, assistant professor in the university's Department of Philosophy and Religion, serves as the ethics consultant for student researchers.

Students with a question or concern may send a confidential e-mail directly to Phillips at ethicsconsult@research.msstate.edu.

Other university administrators do not have access to the account, Echols said.

She adds that the new policy is not a substitute for the MSU Honor Code Procedure or the Ethics in Research and Other Scholarly Activities Policy (OP80.02). Rather this new policy provides an additional means for students to identify issues that should be reported under these two policies, as well as the "whistleblower" policy (OP01.07).

In addition to the e-mail address, the Office of Research and Economic Development is working with Information Technology Services to implement a secure, confidential form on the ORED website that will allow students to contact Phillips to share their concerns.

The policy is posted in its entirety at http://www.msstate.edu/dept/audit/8001.html.

For additional information, please contact Echols at 662-325-8904 or katie@research.msstate.edu.

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