ARIO's Quarterly Newsletter - Number4 April 2020

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Board Update


Regional Updates

Special Interest Group Updates

Good to Know

Board Update

 The ARIO Board is pleased with the continued maturation of the organization and continues to work toward its long-term viability. Sustainability and growth are the two primary goals for ARIO at this stage. In order to be certain the organization remains fiscally sustainable, there will be a slight increase in membership and conference fees this year. We are mindful of budgetary limitations for many institutions, so we have tried to keep the increases minimal. Additional funds in reserve will allow us to expand our resources and provide greater assistance to the ARIO community. One way we have been accomplishing this is by working to enhance our website capabilities and making the site more user-friendly. Much of what we have been doing so far is “behind the scenes.” Soon though, ARIO website users should expect to see increased functionality as well as guidance that will make the site work better for you! 
We want to be transparent about planning for the national meeting slated to be held in September in Utah.  While we are hopeful that we will be able to return to some level of normalcy by September, we remain concerned that travel and other restrictions may still be in place.  We are committed to providing an educational opportunity for our members.  We are continuing to assess our options regarding the format of the ARIO 2020 conference, and we will communicate decisions to our membership as soon as possible. Stay tuned!

Communication Committee Update



There are plenty of opportunities to get involved with the ARIO Communications Committee (ACC)! 

The Communication Committee continues to meet as a group but has also formed subcommittees for more focus and agility. These subcommittees include:  Newsletter, Resources, Blogs and Forums, and Social Media. Interested ARIO members are enthusiastically invited to join one or more of these subcommittees. Contact for more information or to volunteer. 

Regional Group Updates

Having a hard time joining your regional group? You are not alone! Joining a regional group requires an extra step (and subaccount) on the website. Some basic instructions on how to join a regional group are below. 

  1. Is your institution a registered member?
    If you are receiving this newsletter, then yes, it is!
  2. How many individual accounts does my institution have? It depends on the type of membership you purchased. Your institution could have anywhere from 1-5 individual accounts. Click here to view the different membership types:
  3. How do I know if I’m a designee of my institution and, therefore, able to create an individual account? If you are a designee, you should have gotten an email from ARIO to set up your individual account. If you lost that email or do not know if you are a designee, contact ARIO at We will send the link with instructions OR will let you know who the designees are.

The annual conference will again have a set-aside time for meetings of the regional groups. For many members it will be the first face-to-face meeting. Below is a description of activity in each regional group and the contact person. 

Southeast (SERIO) – update from Nancy Rhea, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences


We have been doing quarterly SERIO conference calls but we may move to bi-monthly depending on the interest. We have had some difficulty tracking the number of call participants, but I would estimate about 10 people on average, although the most recent call had 29 callers. 

Topics discussed on the call have included: RCR Training requirements and waivers of these requirements; Non-STEM research misconduct examples; NIH requirements for reporting of research misconduct; Communication between SERIO members; Foreign Influence;  RIO’s Role in COI Disclosure Management.


Mid-America – update from Michelle Stalilonis, Northwestern Univeristy


Attention Mid-America members! We are looking for a member to help serve as the Mid-America group web liaison. The work is minimal, but important, and you will have guidance and support. It is a great opportunity to become more involved in ARIO! If interested, please contact Lauran Qualkenbush (Northwestern University).

The Mid-America group meets once a month at 9 AM CST/10 AM EST, alternating the first Friday of the month with the first Wednesday of the month to accommodate different schedules and obligations. The next two meetings are scheduled for Wednesday, April 1 (host by Rush University Medical Center) and Friday, May 1 (hosted by Northern Illinois University). Contact Shelly Bizila (Indiana University) or Courtney Mankowski (The Ohio State University) to participate in the next call or if you are an ARIO member from the Mid-America region and would like to join.


Mid-Atlantic – update from Hiromi Sanders, George Washington University


Frequency of conference calls:  Monthly and different institutions are assigned to host a call each month.

Average number of callers:  Representatives from approximately 10-15 institutions are on each call.

Examples of topics discussed:

  • COI and research misconduct (JASON Report)
  • Foreign influence
  • Training for new RIOs
  • NIH policy: Communicating research misconduct to the NIH
  • Authorship disputes and RM policies


New England – update from Julie Simpson, University of New Hampshire


About ten representatives participated in the first quarterly phone call at the end of January 2020, which lasted about an hour. Fariba Houman (NE ARIO member) volunteered to take notes and organize the next call. The discussion focused on the following: (1) Joining the ARIO New England regional group; (2) Resources on the ARIO website and what participants would like to see, both nationally and regionally (the Midwest regional group’s templates were given as an example); (3) Interactions with ORI, and changes in their approach to MISA and definitions of scope; (4) Use of ORCID iDs and conducting literature searches with regard to identifying PI’s publications as well as foreign (or other) affiliations of PIs; (5) How institutions are handling non-disclosures of financial interests or other commitments (e.g., employment). In addition to these topics, NE ARIO member Dan Wainstock reported that work has been slow on the formation of an RCR special interest group at ARIO due to other work, and NE ARIO member Mary Walsh reported on her work at Harvard Medical School on promoting research rigor and reproducibility. Julie Simpson and Mary Walsh reminded members about signing up for the NE regional group to access that part of the ARIO website. Any members in the New England states who would like to be included in future communications of the group should contact NE ARIO chair Julie Simpson at the University of New Hampshire at or (603) 862-2003.


Western – update from Lisa Leventhal, Oregon State University and Jason Wang, Cal State University, Long Beach


Western regional ARIO group has been meeting via Zoom every month. About two dozen participants per call, give or take a few. UCLA has been hosting for nearly one year.  University of Arizona has volunteered to host the April - June calls.

Topics included:

  • Sharing documents with ARIO members outside of the Western region
  • Creation of an RIO directory in Box
  • Creation of an ARIO Western Region listserv
  • How to document a decision not to pursue a case at the assessment stage and what would be considered sufficient
  • Standard interview questions RIOS provide to committees
  • Journal refusal to retract paper
  • Translators
  • ARIO Board seeking coordinator for regional website
  • Handling allegations concerning research that has not been published or submitted in grant applications
  • Case management or e-Discovery software

Special Interest Group Updates

Forensics Interest Group – meeting quarterly, more coming 

We are excited to share news regarding the Forensics Special Interest Group (FSIG). Our numbers have grown over the last year – we now have 17 contributors from across the country representing a broad spectrum of forensic and research integrity experience and subject matter expertise from within ARIO membership. We have made strides on resource development for the ARIO community: as discussed at ARIO 2019, we are happy to share both our Image Analysis and Sequestration resources sites, now available via the ARIO Resources offerings (if direct links do not work, go to the ARIO Homepage, find the “Resources” drop down menu and follow the link to “Forensics”). As you will see, sections within these areas are still under construction, and we will continue to populate these resources as our FSIG Subject Matter Working Groups progress. In addition to the experiences and tools familiar to FSIG members, we hope these sites represent expertise from across ARIO membership, so we encourage everyone to explore the ARIO FSIG site and continue to provide input: General feedback? Requests? Any helpful tools/resources you are aware of to assist in the evaluation of academic research data within the context of a research misconduct investigation? Please “suggest an item or topic”. Any forensic questions that the ARIO FSIG may be able to assist you with? Please don’t hesitate to “ask us a question”. We look forward to continuing to build this library of forensic resources for the ARIO community, and providing updates on our progress at ARIO 2020, Salt Lake City, UT. Stay tuned!  .

This section features information, articles, and announcements that are of interest to the ARIO community, specifically related to research integrity and especially research misconduct. We recognize that many RIOs and RIO staff wear multiple hats. Listed entries will not target news items involving specific institutions.


Communications from the DHHS ORI re: COVID-19


ORI Operations Status during Public Health Emergency for United States for 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

The Office of Research Integrity (ORI) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services acknowledges that the 
COVID-19 pandemic is causing disruption to the businesses and research institutions that receive funding from the Public  Health Services (PHS). During this period, ORI continues to perform mission critical functions and operations with ORI  staff working with maximum telework flexibilities. ORI is doing everything possible to accommodate the needs of the research community. 


We will provide updates on the ORI website as information becomes available.

The ORI has additionally provided time sensitive information on the physical delivery (e.g., mail, packages, etc.) of materials to their offices.   In brief (and starting immediately):

  1. Hold all materials not already mailed to the ORI (e.g., do not mail materials at this time).
  2. If you know you have materials already in transit contact Tracy Morgan at  and Ray Fisher at  to provide information about estimated delivery date, contents, or anything else relevant. 

For additional information read Elisabeth Handley’s communication regarding the status of ORI operations:


  1. ORI Guidance to Institutions Concerning Sequestration during Closure of Institutions due to COVID-19


The Office of Research Integrity (ORI) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services acknowledges that the COVID-19 pandemic is interrupting and delaying regular operations at institutions, including research misconduct (RM) proceedings.

Since the regulation at 42 C.F.R. Part 93.305 requires institutions to “promptly take all reasonable and practical steps” to sequester evidence in a RM proceeding, institutions should take those steps that are reasonable and practical under the current circumstances. If is not possible to access records on-site due to office or building closures, the institution: (1) should promptly begin sequestering electronic evidence remotely to the extent that it has the technological capability to do so (i.e., data and emails on network computers, servers, and cloud environments); and (2) may postpone sequestering physical and other electronic evidence (i.e., laboratory notebooks, blots/films, other research records, and evidence on non-networked computers and devices) until it becomes reasonable and practical to sequester such evidence.  Click above link for more.


How will NIH support a recipient’s need to limit in-person meetings for the sole purpose of instruction/training due to COVID-19?
NIH will allow for special circumstances for trainings and instruction that typically require in-person attendance, such as training in the responsible conduct of research (NIH GPS Training can be completed online during this declared public health emergency. Prior approval is not required in these specific cases.


ORI announces DEI Director


Karen Wehner, Ph.D., has joined ORI as the new Director of the Division of Education and Integrity (DEI).

Prior to joining ORI, Dr. Wehner served as the Associate Director of the Division of Research Integrity at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine (JHU SOM). In this role, Dr. Wehner was responsible for overseeing, developing, and delivering Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) training for faculty, postdocs, and staff at JHU SOM as well as consulting on and supporting RCR training for graduate students. Dr. Wehner also functioned as Assistant Research Integrity Officer (RIO), providing comprehensive support for the institution’s response to allegations of research misconduct, and she handled other research integrity matters, such as authorship disputes and professional misconduct occurring in the research space.

In addition to her efforts in the RCR education space, Dr. Wehner also spent time as an Adjunct Professor at Stevenson University where she taught an introductory biochemistry course and a laboratory course on molecular biology techniques. Dr. Wehner earned her Ph.D. in Genetics at Yale University, completed postdoctoral work at Stanford University School of Medicine, and conducted basic biomedical research JHU SOM. Dr. Wehner’s research employed the use of molecular, genetic, and biochemical techniques and focused on the assembly, regulation, and activity of ribosomes.


Conferences: future & past


Coming up:

June 8-9, 2020:  A first ever NSF-OIG Research Integrity Administrator (RIA) Meeting being held June 8-9 in Alexandria, VA at National Science Foundation headquarters. See flyer ria_flyer-mod.pdf for more information. This meeting has been postponed. 


September 14-16, 2020ARIO 2020 in Salt Lake City, Utah. Agenda is under development.  An announcement will be sent to all ARIO contacts when the agenda is ready. Conference registration is pending.  Conference location is The Little America Hotel. Hotel registration is open. See online updates at:



RISE pre-conference at the APPE annual meeting in Atlanta, GA (held February 20, 2020)

The Association for Practical and Professional Ethics (APPE) is a comprehensive, international organization advancing scholarship, education, and practice in practical and professional ethics.


The Research Integrity Scholars-Educators (RISE) Consortium conducted a workshop with various presentations on research integrity, research ethics, and pedagogical approaches to promoting integrity. Many presentations dealt with RCR and research misconduct.


APPE’s 2021 Annual Meeting – celebrating its 30th Anniversary – will be held in Cincinnati, OH on February 25-28, 2021.

Papers, Reports of Note, and Books


September 13, 2019:  The Hong Kong Principles for Assessing Researchers: Fostering Research Integrity.  DOI: 10.31219/  Authors: DMoher, LBouter, SKleinert, et. al.

From abstract:  We have developed the Hong Kong Principles (HKP) as part of the 6th World Conference on Research Integrity with a specific focus on the need to drive research improvement through ensuring that researchers are explicitly recognized and rewarded (i.e., their careers are advanced) for behavior that leads to trustworthy research.


January 31, 2020:  Measuring Research Transparency (Inside Higher Ed) A new ranking system for academic journals measuring their commitment to research transparency will be launched next month -- providing what many believe will be a useful alternative to journal impact scores. (credit to COGR News Digest)


February 27, 2020:  A single ‘paper mill’ appears to have churned out 400 papers, sleuths find (Science) Online sleuths have discovered what they suspect is a paper mill that has produced more than 400 scientific papers  with potentially fabricated images. Some journals are now investigating the papers. (credit to COGR News Digest)


March 13, 2020:  Labs go quiet as researchers brace for long-term coronavirus disruptions (Science)  Measures to control the spread of the virus vary by university and often reflect the local severity of the outbreak. Many researchers told ScienceInsider that none of the disruptions to their work compare to the human toll of the pandemic. Some institutions are allowing researchers lab access while aiming to minimize the number of people gathering in buildings. Others are discouraging all in-lab research. Harvard University’s college of arts and sciences shifted from the former category to the latter yesterday. Its dean called for a “ramp-down of research activities” by 18 March, followed by a 6- to 8-week period of “suspended lab access.” (credit to COGR News Digest)


JASON report, Fundamental Research Security , JSR-19-21, December 2019 – charged by NSF to study issues primarily related to undue foreign influence.  See for the report.  This excerpt may be of particular interest to the ARIO community:

JASON finds that failing to disclose any aspect of a foreign engagement, either a foreign scholar coming to the United States or a U.S. researcher conducting funded research in a foreign country, compromises the integrity of the U.S. research enterprise. A failure to make the proper disclosure must then be treated as a violation of research integrity and should be investigated and adjudicated in the same way as, for example, falsification of data or plagiarism (i.e., research misconduct) (pp. 31-32).


Gaming the Metrics:  Misconduct and Manipulation in Academic Research

Edited by Mario Biagioli  and Alexandra Lippman ;  MIT Press, January 2020, 306 pp.

How the increasing reliance on metrics to evaluate scholarly publications has produced new forms of academic fraud and misconduct. Open Access at:



Considering an institutional membership? Visit here to learn about membership options . Once you join, set up your personal individual account and start networking with fellow RIOs and other members of the ARIO community!


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