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Research & Compliance: Policies & Procedures

It is important that members of our research community learn about the policies and procedures that govern our research and business conduct. These include issues such as how to avoid conflicts of interest, the best way to conduct business relationships with members of industry and other institutions, and how to keep data — including information related to patients — safe and secure.

Making sure that everyone within our institution is aware of and follows these policies helps to ensure that Memorial Sloan Kettering maintains its reputation as a center that conducts the highest quality research and provides the highest quality patient care.

The following are policies and procedures that we feel are especially important for postdoctoral researchers to educate themselves about, because they relate to issues that will come up regularly in your research at Memorial Sloan Kettering and throughout your career.

Authorship Guidelines

Your scientific credibility depends not only on the accuracy of reporting research results but on the complete and accurate reporting of authorship on all research. In order to support a culture of integrity and trust, it is important that investigators not take credit for the published or unpublished works of others or refer to such work without attribution and/or permission.

Our Authorship Guidelines provide you with guidance on the minimum requirements for authorship of and acknowledgements in your research papers. They also provide information about how to avoid ghost authorship (when an individual makes a substantial contribution to the research but is not listed as an author) as well as honorary authorship (when senior researchers are listed as co-authors despite having little to do with the work).

Many of the suggested guidelines were developed based on those established by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE).

Code of Conduct

Memorial Sloan Kettering’s Code of Conduct outlines the ethical and legal standards that all employees of the Center must all follow. It covers a wide range of issues. The Code of Conduct is not intended to replace existing policies and procedures, but rather is to be used in combination with them.

Conflict of Interest and Commitment

Collaboration between academic health professionals and the private sector provides many societal, institutional, and individual benefits. As an MSKCC employee, you are permitted to participate in outside activities including consulting with industry. However, these activities are governed by the Memorial Sloan Kettering Policy on Financial Conflict of Interest & Conflict of Commitment. If you are interested in working with industry, you must seek approval before you enter into an agreement or perform work. You are also required to disclose certain financial holdings in companies that are involved or could be involved with your work at Memorial Sloan Kettering.

Use our Outside Activity Reporting System (OARS) to report an activity. 

Please also see our training materials on the conflict of interest policy.

Grant and Contract Proposal Submission Guidelines

Our Grant and Contract Proposal Submission Guidelines provide information on the assistance offered by our Grants and Contracts (G&C) unit in the Office of Research and Project Administration. G&C provides a full range of services and support for Memorial Sloan Kettering Principal Investigators (PIs) and administrative support staff to find appropriate funding opportunities and to submit applications for such funding.

Activities include providing advice about potential funding sources and interpretation of Requests for Applications (RFAs), preparing and reviewing budgets, reviewing and editing project narratives, submitting completed applications, negotiating with external funding agencies, and setting up systems in compliance with applicable policies and regulations. In addition, G&C coordinates with Research Fund Management to ensure that awards for funded projects are dispersed in a timely manner.

Information Security Handbook

Our Information Security Handbook provides guidance to members of the Memorial Sloan Kettering workforce about what we can do to help ensure the privacy of our patients and preserve the integrity of our computing environment.

Intellectual Property Review Process

Memorial Sloan Kettering investigators who have made an advance that might constitute an invention or who have developed other types of intellectual property should disclose such information to the Office of Technology Development (OTD), following our Intellectual Property Review Process. After OTD receives the disclosure, which can be submitted through the OTD website, a licensing professional will be assigned to the case. That person will contact you within a week, provide you with a copy of Memorial Sloan Kettering’s Intellectual Property Review Process, and work with other members of OTD’s management team to evaluate your disclosure.

Interaction with Industry

Our policies on Interaction with Industry set out the guidelines for ethical and appropriate interaction with industry. They include guidelines on accepting business courtesies, gifts, financial and in-kind support for department meetings and other events, and contributions. Compliance with these policies is a requirement of all Memorial Sloan Kettering employees. Memorial Sloan Kettering also provides our vendors with written notification of these policies.

Institutional Biosafety Committee Policy

If you are doing any experiments involving recombinant DNA (rDNA), as described in the NIH Guidelines for Research Involving Recombinant DNA Molecules, or non-recombinant DNA research involving infectious agents classified as Risk Group 2, 3, and 4 in the NIH Guidelines, Appendix B, you must register them with our Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC) prior to initiating the work, regardless of the source of funding for the proposed work. The IBC requires registration of all rDNA protocols, regardless of whether the proposed work falls into one of the categories of research that the NIH specifically exempts from the requirement for IBC review. Registration involves completing the Memorial Sloan Kettering Biosafety Registration document and attaching the relevant grant or contract narrative.

MSKCC’s NIH Public Access Policy

All investigators who are funded by the National Institutes of Health are required to submit, or have submitted for them, an electronic version of their final, peer-reviewed manuscripts to the National Library of Medicine’s PubMed Central upon acceptance of the manuscript for publication. The NIH requires that these manuscripts be made publicly available no later than 12 months after the official date of publication. The NIH implements its public access policy in a manner that is consistent with copyright law.

Policy on Inventions, Patents, Copyrights, Tangible Property, and Technology Transfer

Sometimes commercially valuable, patentable inventions, copyrightable materials, and tangible property result from research or other work conducted at Memorial Sloan Kettering. To ensure that such results are taken advantage of, our Policy on Inventions, Patents, Copyrights, Tangible Property, and Technology Transfer is designed to manage such intellectual property.

Research Data Retention and Access Policy and Procedures

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center research investigators, faculty, staff, trainees, and students all share in the obligation to retain research data in an appropriate form, archive it for a reasonable length of time, and in the appropriate circumstances make it available for collaborative research and review. Investigators who are leaving the institution should complete the Data Custody Letter Template. See our Policy and Procedures for Research Data Retention and Access.

Research Misconduct

Memorial Sloan Kettering is committed to ensuring that research is conducted in a responsible manner. Therefore, we have policies and procedures in place for responding to allegations of misconduct in science. Allegations are reviewed promptly, thoroughly, and objectively, with concern for the rights, reputations, and privacy of all those involved.

Use of Human Embryonic Stem Cells (hESC) and Covered Human Pluripotent Stem Cells (hPSC)

Research involving human embryonic stem cells (hESC) and covered human pluripotent stem cells (hPSC) must be conducted in a manner consistent with and in compliance with the established regulatory and institutional requirements. “Covered hPSC research” is defined as all research involving the transplantation of hPSC into animals at any stage of development or maturity or use of hPSC cells in in vitro experiments designed or expected to yield gametes (oocytes or sperm). These procedures apply to all hESC research and covered hPSC research, regardless of the funding sources. Read our Policy and Procedures for Use of Human Embryonic Stem Cells (hESC) and Covered Human Pluripotent Stem Cells (hPSC).