Penn Research Excellence

Supporting the Highest Levels of Research Credibility, Integrity, and Impact at Penn

About Research Excellence

Signature Components

Task Force

Latest Work

ERN Days

On September 19th and 20th, Penn will provide free training and support sessions to help with your use of electronic research notebooks. A professional LabArchives trainer will be on-site.

Resource Hub

Our team is making great progress on a Research Resource Hub to help you find internal and external information and ease administrative burden.  Planning to launch in Q2 2020!

About Penn Research Excellence

The Penn Research Excellence Initiative, spearheaded by the Office of the Vice Provost for Research, is a program that supports research credibility and integrity on Penn’s campus and across the Philadelphia region. Our goals are to:

  • Reinforce Penn’s commitment to a culture that embraces the highest quality of reproducible research
  • Promote resources for our schools and strategies for our researchers to avoid pitfalls and issues that impact research integrity
  • Provide our researchers and our academic leaders with the context to influence external stakeholders toward practices that support research integrity nationally and globally

The Penn Research Excellence Initiative enables Penn, as part of the national scientific enterprise, to continue making valuable contributions to society like providing better health, longer lifespans, improved lifestyle, and economic development.  All stakeholders including public and private funding agencies, publishers, reviewers, teachers, individual researchers, and academic institutions, need to explore every avenue to support the highest levels of credibility and excellence in scientific research to offset the threats represented by issues such as ineffective communication, inconsistent research methods, unconscious bias, and lapses in research integrity.

Signature Components

Training and Resource Task Force

The Training and Resource Task Force, as part of the Penn Research Excellence Initiative, was convened in July 2018 to evaluate training for rigorous and credible research across Penn. The task force included 12 faculty members from the School of Engineering & Applied Sciences, the School of Arts and Sciences, and the Perelman School of Medicine; a PhD student representative from SEAS; a post-doctoral student representative from PSOM; and 2 staff members from the Office of the Vice Provost of Research. The task force’s charge was to review the current state of, and make recommendations for improving, the educational infrastructure for statistical data analysis as well as training in responsible conduct of research (RCR) and scientific rigor and reproducibility (SRR) for graduate students, post-docs, and faculty.

The task force met between July and November 2018. These meetings were used to review the current state of training at Penn and to learn from experts who have developed programs and resources to train students and faculty to conduct rigorous, transparent, and responsible research. These experts included: Professor of Pharmacology David Manning, who has spearheaded efforts in Biomedical Graduate Studies (BGS) to develop resources to improve understanding of issues related to RCR and SRR; Professor Emma Meagher, Director of the Master of Science Program in Translational Research at PSOM; Professor of Statistics Paul Rosenbaum; and Professor of Biostatistics in Biostatistics and Epidemiology Nandita Mitra.

Achieving scientific rigor and reproducibility requires several critical steps that extend from the conceptualization of a scientific project, through its conduct, to its publication and beyond. The Training and Resource Task Force recommended that all graduate and postdoctoral students should develop the knowledge and habits required to implement these steps in the work that they conduct during their training at Penn and beyond, as appropriate to their specific fields of research. Since the training needs of our graduate students and post-docs are so diverse, our recommendations are meant to provide departments and programs with a framework and resources that they can use to develop training plans and policies that are discipline-appropriate.


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