MSU's Experience with the SORC

Sunday, 15 February 2015: 3:00 PM-4:30 PM
Room LL21E (San Jose Convention Center)
Karen Klomparens, Michigan State University (MSU), East Lansing, MI
The MSU Graduate School established its RCR program in 1998 as part of our responsibility in fostering and sustaining environments that promote integrity in research and scholarship.  The research environment is an important component to ensure responsible conduct, and therefore the quality, of research. MSU participated in the Council of Graduate Schools’ Project on Scholarly Integrity and used the SORC  (c Carol Thrush 2007) to assess our research climate in 2009 (45% participation).  We repeated the SORC in 2014 (48% participation).  In 20009, we provided data dashboards and graphs (, as well as analyses, to colleges and convened discussions.  We used the “no basis for judging” (NBFJ) response as a proxy for either little or no knowledge on a particular item or at least that it was not discussed as part of the department or graduate program community interactions.  A quartile ranking sheet of graduate programs/departments was provided for each college for each of the 8 SORC composite factors. This proved to be the single most useful presentation format for highlighting how individual departments and programs compared to others in the college.  It was obvious at a glance, if a college had programs in each quartile, mostly in the bottom, or mostly in the top.  We convened a group of postdocs (as some of the most isolated individuals conducting research on any campus) for discussions on RCR climate for them, as part of a project funded by the National Postdoc Assoc. For 2014, data analyses are still underway.  One preliminary finding is that NBFJ was selected fewer times compared to 2009, perhaps indicating that, with the initiation of the NSF requirement for RCR training, there are more explicit discussions of RCR within programs. Specific advice for administering the SORC will be shared.