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Fwd: Re: [RESADM-L] Forged Signature on IRB Application Herbert B. Chermside 14 Nov 2003 12:10 EST

Everyone is right on about the forgery being a major problem.  Steve's
answer is on target.  This illustrates the importance of the role of
academic management.  Most of us act for the institution, but depend on
academic management for internal approvals of various sorts because we are
not decision makers (except in our limited special fields), merely the
executors of management's decisions.  Academic managers should, and must,
enforce discipline such that their decision making is neither bypassed nor
subverted.  Academic managers should have in place a deputy in case of
absence; institutional progress should not be halted just because a manager
is unavailable for  an extended period.  Some academic managers see many of
their appropriate management decisions as mere administrivia; we need to
help them realize why they do need to manage and to make these decisions.


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>Date:         Thu, 13 Nov 2003 10:41:02 -0500
>Reply-To: Research Administration Discussion List <xxxxxx@HRINET.ORG>
>Sender: Research Administration List <xxxxxx@HRINET.ORG>
>From: Stephen Erickson <xxxxxx@BC.EDU>
>Subject: Re: [RESADM-L] Forged Signature on IRB Application
>To: xxxxxx@HRINET.ORG
>I consur with others who have said this act of forgery cannot be
>ignored. I don't know what your internal procedures are so it's
>difficult to recommend specific actions. It seems to me that it's a hard
>to make an ethical argument that some forgry is ok.
>I would like to add another question to the discussion. If this act of
>forgery were to be passed off as not being important enough toworry
>about, then I think we have to ask what added value is there in having
>the Department Chair sign the protocols. Personally, I think there is
>significant value added, but others may disagree. For those who think
>there is value in a Chair signing,  this act of forgery has both ethical
>and practical implications. The Chair has a right to  know that his/her
>signature has been forged --- and he/she has a responsibility to take
>disciplinary action against the forger. I'm not sure Spanky's solution
>of decapitation is a punishment that fits the crime -- but if the Chair
>is aching to use a guillotine, so be it.
>Stephen Erickson, Director
>Office for Research Compliance and Intellectual Property Management
>Boston College, LCOB 550
>Chestnut Hill, MA 02467
>Telephone:  617-552-3345
>Office Fax:  617-552-6981
>Fax to my computer: 413-895-8328
>-----Original Message-----
>From: Research Administration List [mailto:xxxxxx@HRINET.ORG] On
>Behalf Of Barbara Gray
>Sent: Wednesday, November 12, 2003 11:31 AM
>To: xxxxxx@HRINET.ORG
>Subject: [RESADM-L] Forged Signature on IRB Application
>Compliance/IRB staffers out there, how would you deal with this
>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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Herbert B. Chermside, CRA
Director, Sponsored Programs Administration
Virginia Commonwealth University
PO BOX 980568
Richmond, VA  23298-0568
Express Delivery Only:
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 Richmond, VA 23219
Voice:  804-828-6772
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OFFICE e-mail   xxxxxx@VCU.EDU
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