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RePAIR Program Provides Solution to Redeem Researchers

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RePAIR (Restoring Professionalism and Integrity in Research) is a new program that “provides intensive professional development education for investigators who have engaged in wrongdoing or unprofessional behavior, including persistent non-compliance,” according to its leaders. RePAIR was developed with NIH funding by a team of clinical, organizational, and developmental psychologists with input from remediation trainers, ethicists, lawyers, investigators and research administrators.

Research Integrity Officers, compliance officers, and research administrators have faced the challenge of appropriately dealing with researchers who have been found responsible for wrongdoing, especially in situations in which the wrongdoing may not warrant dismissal from the institution. Can the researchers be returned to the research community as trusted, productive members?  Or are their careers tainted and doomed to failure?

RePAIR’s premise is that an intense period of intervention, with multiple participants from different institutions who spend several days together at a neutral site, followed by a lengthy period of follow up activities back at their home institution, will rebuild their ethical views.   ORI doesn’t know whether RePAIR will work and cannot formally endorse it.  But ORI staff do find RePAIR an intriguing and high-minded experiment that research institutions may wish to consider as a resource. The RePAIR coordinator may be reached at 314-977-1070 or at repair@slu.edu.

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