Compliance with research standards within gynecologic oncology fellowship: A Gynecologic Oncology Fellowship Research Network (GOFRN) study

Laura J. Moulton, Chad M. Michener, Kimberly Levinson, Lauren Cobb, Jill Tseng, Amelia Jernigan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives Participation in clinical and basic science research is emphasized in gynecologic oncology training. We sought to identify trends in adherence to expected research practices and reasons for non-adherence among gynecologic oncology fellows. Methods An anonymous 31-question online survey assessing academic behaviors, including IRB compliance, authorship assignment, data sharing, and potential barriers to non-adherence was distributed to all SGO gynecologic oncology fellow members in July 2016. Descriptive statistics and univariate analyses were performed. Results Of 190 members, 35.3% (n = 67) responded. 73% (n = 49) of respondents reported personal non-compliance and 79.1% (n = 53) reported having witnessed others being non-complaint with at least one expected research practice. Areas of compliance failure included changing a research question without appropriate IRB amendment (20%; n = 14), conducting research under a nonspecific IRB (13.9%; n = 9), and performing research without IRB approval (6.1%; n = 4). Longer institutional time for IRB approval was significantly associated with IRB non-adherence (p < 0.05). First year fellows were more likely to use a nonspecific IRB (p = 0.04) or expand a question without amending the IRB (p = 0.04). When asked about storage of protected health information (PHI) for research, 53% reported non-secure storage with 17.1% (n = 6) having done so for > 1000 patients. Thirty respondents (45.5%) assigned authorship to someone who failed to meet ICMJE criteria and twelve (18.5%) accepted authorship without meeting ICMJE criteria. Most commonly cited reasons for non-adherence were: cumbersome IRB processes (80.3%), pressure from senior authors (78.8%), fear of someone else publishing first, (74.2%) and lack of support navigating appropriate research practices (71.2%). Conclusions Fellow non-compliance with expected research practices is high, particularly with regards to secure storage of PHI and appropriate authorship assignment. Time-consuming and cumbersome IRB procedures, perceived pressure from senior authors, and lack of research support contribute to non-adherence. Further support and education of gynecologic oncology fellows is needed in order to help address these barriers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)647-652
Number of pages6
JournalGynecologic oncology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2017


  • Academic integrity
  • Gynecologic oncology fellowship
  • Research ethics
  • Scientific misconduct

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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