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Forged Signature on IRB Application Barbara Gray 12 Nov 2003 11:31 EST

Compliance/IRB staffers out there, how would you deal with this situation?

We require department chairs to sign off on human subject applications.
A faculty member is in a rush to have an human subject protocol approved
(under expedited criteria) for a very innocuous procedure--virtually no
risk at all except it is a phyical measurement that does not fit within
exemption criteria.  (Note that the project involves students who will
be collecting the data as part of a class assignment.)  She indicates
she'll just sign for her chair, we indicate that she can't do that, and,
lo and behold, the signature page comes in a couple of days later with
the chair's signature forged.

Would you take this to her chair?  Her dean?  The provost?  Would you
prohibit her from implementing the protocol (which will impact the
students in her class)?  Would you bar her from doing human subject
research for a period of time?  Is this "misconduct" that should be
referred for handling through ORI regs?  (note that we've made our
misconduct policy applicable to all research and scholarship, not just
that funded externally or by the Feds.)  Personally, I find the faculty
member's action offensive and unethical (if not downright illegal)--if
she will do this on an application, might she do the same someday on a
consent form??  But, in the big scheme of things, is this worth going to
the mat on?  After all, it's only falsification of an internal
signature, not scientific data....


Barbara H. Gray, Director
Office of Research & Grants Administration
College of Charleston
66 George Street
Charleston, SC  29424
Campus Location:  407-G Bell Bldg.
Office: 843.953.5673  Desk: 843.953.5885  Fax:  843.953.6577
e-mail:   URL:

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