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Research Spending & Results

Award Detail

Doing Business As Name:George Washington University
  • Ekundayo Shittu
  • (202) 994-3574
  • Ryan Watkins
  • Chung Hyuk Park
  • Payman Dehghanian
Award Date:07/21/2021
Estimated Total Award Amount: $ 350,000
Funds Obligated to Date: $ 350,000
  • FY 2021=$350,000
Start Date:01/01/2022
End Date:12/31/2024
Transaction Type:Grant
Awarding Agency Code:4900
Funding Agency Code:4900
CFDA Number:47.075
Primary Program Source:040100 NSF RESEARCH & RELATED ACTIVIT
Award Title or Description:A Digital Nudge: Assessing the Impact of an Immutable Records Data Management Platform on Student Researcher Ethics
Federal Award ID Number:2124866
DUNS ID:043990498
Parent DUNS ID:043990498
Program:ER2-Ethical & Responsible Res
Program Officer:
  • Wenda K. Bauchspies
  • (703) 292-5034

Awardee Location

Street:1922 F Street NW
Awardee Cong. District:00

Primary Place of Performance

Organization Name:George Washington University
Street:1922 F Street
City:Washington, DC
Cong. District:00

Abstract at Time of Award

Many research projects involve scientists working in multiple research groups at several laboratories or universities. Quite often, project participants do not have access to the complete chain of data and information for a given project. As a result, mistakes and improper research conduct cannot be discovered and corrected by the project participants. Even if access to the data in the chain of events is provided, there may be lingering doubts about the veracity of the data, i.e., fears regarding the possibility that data was fabricated, improperly altered or that important information about data acquisition and processing steps were omitted. The consequence is that poor or misleading scientific studies can result in erroneous conclusions. Several recommendations have been promulgated to address the credibility of government-funded scientific studies, such as the report regarding reproducibility and replicability issued by the National Economic Council. The need to improve the credibility and replicability of scientific studies is closely related to the need for improving compliance with ethics and responsible research standards in academic and other research institutions. The objective of this project is to study and evaluate the potential of a Data Management Platform (DMP) for immutable research records to improve the ethics surrounding scientific research cultures and norms in university laboratory settings. Understanding how the management of immutable research records impacts the performance of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) student researchers is a crucial determinant to the success of the innovation challenge. An intermediate goal of this examination is to determine the extent to which the knowledge of a DMP enhances research standards. The overarching hypothesis is that a DMP will not only improve compliance with ethical and responsible conduct of research, it will also enhance the behaviors of student researchers toward the importance of data ethics as well as supplement ethics training they might receive through their institution. This project will establish a prototype for maintaining the transparency of research data through two mechanisms: (a) embedding technology into the scientific workflow (a ‘digital nudge’) in order to create cultures of ethically responsible research, and (b) evaluating the importance of mandatory compliance with research integrity standards. Evaluating the efficacy of the intervening DMP will be in the context of research-active environments such that STEM student researchers will be able to manage project originality and advances with time stamps on project data, ideas and discoveries. This evaluation will contribute to the theory of how motivation and social cognition influence behaviors toward research conduct. The dynamic updating of research progress with immutable recording in real-time will be with encrypted access and validation. In a comparative approach, surveys will be deployed to collect data from student researchers prior to and after the use of the DMP. The research design will employ a novel repeated analysis of variance (ANOVA) approach on the treatment group before and after the DMP intervention over two or more different time periods. The transformative agenda is the design to evaluate the extent to which immutable research records influence research innovation with pathways to new frontiers on ethics and responsible conduct of research. A key impact of this project will be ethics infused with equity because the absence of identity distinctions at the human-technology interface offers an avenue to not only accommodate student and faculty STEM researchers, but also proffers an inclusive ecosystem for equitable research responsibility and progress. Thus, this project will recruit underrepresented minorities and woman-identifying students in the study. This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

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