UMDNJ-SOM Research Ombudsperson
Peter Stein, PhD., Professor
Dept. of Surgery
Two Medical Center Drive
Science Center, 106A
Stratford, NJ 08084
Phone: (856) 566-6036
What is a "Research Ombudsperson" at UMDNJ?
Research ombudspersons of UMDNJ are senior faculty members with extensive research experience and stature within the research community who are designated by their deans to hear problems, concerns, complaints, disputes and questions from any individual concerning research activities, and to act in a neutral and confidential role to help achieve equitable and acceptable solutions. The research ombusdperson has the support of his/her dean and of the University's Office of Academic Affairs, and can approach any individual within the University in search of solutions. He/she does not represent either the individual or the school or University, but impartially considers the interests of all parties. Solutions are achieved by recommendations to the party or parties, not decisions or actions by the ombudsperson. Methods used to achieve solutions include sympathetic listening, influence, persuasion, advice, conciliation, referral, negotiation and/or mediation. The research ombuds role is a resource additional or alternative to that provided by department chairs, research mentors, research deans and deans.
Confidentiality of visits to and information shared with the research ombudsperson will be maintained to the extent possible. No permanent or official records, files or notes will be kept. However, there are limits to the confidentiality of the research ombudsperson role at UMDNJ, including:
- threat of harm to an individual or individuals
- threat of harm to the University
- evidence or potential crime, misconduct in science or serious breach of University policy.
While appropriate action must be taken in the above situations, anonymity of the reporter, if desired, will be maintained if possible.
Relationship to Campus Committees on Research Integrity
- If an issue brought to the research ombudsperson is a report of potential misconduct in science, the ombudsperson will make every effort to ensure that the appropriate Committee on Research Integrity receives the information, maintaining anonymity of the complaint if desired and if possible.
- If an issue brought first to a Committee on Research Integrity does not fall under the University definition of misconduct in science, the Committee can offer to refer the matter to the research ombudsperson.