I really liked this activity. It was very realistic and interactive which is the best way to learn. It was interesting to experience the perspective of the Research Integrity Officer although it may have been more beneficial for me to see through the eyes of a grad student. However, following the RIO through the process of taking the job and learning her responsibilities taught me a lot about the system of research integrity.
It seemed to me that the lady who was asked to be the RIO was really hesitant of taking the position, and she essentially ended up getting pushed into it. I empathized with her at her fear of basically being a “debbie-downer” in the research community at her institution. She feared that people were going to view her as someone to be feared and avoided which she didn’t like. Getting into the research community and talking about her job and being open and transparent about it was a great way to break the barrier and I think our own institution could benefit from someone doing this because students are probably less intimidated to come forward if they feel like they know the RIO.
Another situation that stuck out to me was that the exiting RIO didn’t even have any imparting information, knowledge, or advice to offer her. He didn’t even really know what he was doing. It seemed like the job description was very vague and involved a lot of gray area. This showed what a systemic issue research and academic integrity truly is because the overseer’s job had so many inherent issues. It also showed how a motivated, organized, and ethical individual can truly make a difference in this position and how others (graduate students, post-doc students, PIs) can benefit and be SAFER in their academic endeavors with a responsible person guiding them. However, it’s scary to think about the vulnerability of the research community as a whole if someone else got the job of RIO. Someone who felt pressured to just go with the flow and avoided upsetting anyone.