Duke Launches Revised Research Policy Manual

Revised policy applies to all faculty, students, staff and administrators involved in Duke’s research enterprise

research lab worker's gloved hands collecting research material

The publication of the Research Policy Manual represents a collaboration between OR&I, the Office of the Provost, the Executive Committee of Academic Council (ECAC), and university leadership. It was supported and made possible by contributions and feedback from numerous subject matter experts and dedicated staff.

We are excited to make this resource available to the community so that we may all continue our pursuit of research excellence and integrity.

See the full contents of the Research Policy Manual.

Why was the Research Policy Manual developed?

In late 2018, Duke appointed a President’s Advisory Committee on Scientific Integrity and Research Excellence to provide recommendations to university leadership for improving the structure and function of research administration, with a focus on promoting research integrity. In their report, the Committee recommended the establishment of an institution-wide research office (now OR&I) and the development of a Research Policy Manual.

Duke University acted upon both recommendations, establishing the then-named Office of Research in the fall of 2019 and placing the responsibility for university-wide research policy under its purview (Duke University Faculty Handbook, Chapter 1). The Office of Research then chartered the Research Policy Manual in January 2021, by agreement of the Provost, Chair of ECAC, and the Vice President for Research & Innovation.

In agreement with the Office of the Provost and Academic Council, OR&I consulted with subject matter experts and business owners from across the research enterprise to review the research policies found across Duke websites and handbooks. Following inventory and review, these policies were organized by topic and sorted into the chapters that now comprise the Research Policy Manual. 

Why a Research Policy Manual?

Research policies apply to all individuals engaged in the design, conduct, and reporting of research carried out under the auspices of Duke. They can also apply to those individuals involved in the administration and oversight of research. While this certainly includes many Duke faculty, it also includes research scientists, lab managers, postdocs, administrators, visiting scholars, affiliates, and the grants management community. The Research Policy Manual applies to all of these populations and is a companion to the Duke Faculty Handbook.

What’s different about the policies now located in the Research Policy Manual?

The policies as they appear in the manual have been reviewed and revised as needed so that they contain updated hyperlinks, current office names and program titles, and language reflecting today’s research environment. The Research Policy Manual will be available on the same platform as – and is a companion to- the Duke Faculty Handbook.  All proposed revisions have been shared with the ECAC, discussed at Academic Council meetings, and approved by the Executive Research Oversight Committee (EROC).

What has not changed are the institutional expectations and principles so critical to upholding the highest standards of research integrity. These policies do not contain new requirements for trainees, faculty, investigators, research personnel, or staff.

What’s Next?

Going forward, research policies will be reviewed regularly to allow our policies to reflect the current research methods, technologies, and expectations from our research communities and external sponsors. If proposed revisions materially affect the research community, OR&I is committed to an open, engaged process incorporating voices and perspectives from across the research spectrum.

We look forward to engaging with the Duke community to develop language that reflects the heterogeneity of disciplines and personnel that characterize research and scholarly activity at a major research university; emphasizes our shared commitment to principles of openness and transparency; and allows for the efficient execution of forward-looking, ground-breaking inquiries pursued by investigators at Duke.

Who provided oversight of this initiative?

The Vice President for Research & Innovation, acting as the head of OR&I charged with responsibility for university-wide research policy, has designated the Research Policy Advisory Committee (RPAC) as the primary steward for the Research Policy Manual. This committee is charged with reviewing and improving research policies and procedures, identifying policy and procedural gaps and challenges, and incorporating an assessment of administrative burden into potential revisions to enhance efficiencies and optimize research conduct and administration at Duke. The committee solicits faculty input and feedback through coordination and connections to the Faculty Subcommittee of EROC, ECAC, and other guiding faculty and administrative bodies in the university community, as appropriate.

RPAC is comprised of administrative leaders from the research enterprise at Duke University, as appointed by the Vice President of Research & Innovation in consultation with the Associate Vice Presidents for Research and the Research Policy Manager. The committee also includes a faculty delegate from the ECAC, as appointed by the chair of that committee.

Who do I contact with questions?

The Research Policy Manual contains contact offices and emails for individual policies. For general comments and questions, email researchpolicies@duke.edu.