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Development and Validation of the Survey of Organizational Research Climate (SORC)

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Development and targeting efforts by academic organizations to effectively promote research integrity can be enhanced if they are able to collect reliable data to benchmark baseline conditions, to assess areas needing improvement, and to subsequently assess the impact of specific initiatives. To date, no standardized and validated tool has existed to serve this need. A web- and mail-based survey was administered in the second half of 2009 to 2,837 randomly selected biomedical and social science faculty and postdoctoral fellows at 40 academic health centers in top-tier research universities in the United States. Measures included the Survey of Organizational Research Climate (SORC) as well as measures of perceptions of organizational justice. Exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses yielded seven subscales of organizational research climate, all of which demonstrated acceptable internal consistency (Cronbach’s α ranging from 0.81 to 0.87) and adequate test–retest reliability (Pearson r ranging from 0.72 to 0.83). A broad range of correlations between the seven subscales and five measures of organizational justice (unadjusted regression coefficients ranging from 0.13 to 0.95) document both construct and discriminant validity of the instrument. The SORC demonstrates good internal (alpha) and external reliability (test–retest) as well as both construct and discriminant validity.

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The authors wish to acknowledge the excellent work of Shannon Donald in several key aspects contributing to this manuscript including project coordination and sample frame development. This research was supported by Award Number R21-RR025279 from the NIH National Center for Research Resources and the DHHS Office of Research Integrity through the collaborative Research on Research Integrity Program.

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The study protocol was approved by the Regions Hospital Institutional Review Board, the oversight body with responsibility for all research conducted at HealthPartners Institute for Education and Research, and by the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Institutional Review Board.

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Correspondence to Brian C. Martinson.

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The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Center for Research Resources, the National Institutes of Health, or the Office of Research Integrity.

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Martinson, B.C., Thrush, C.R. & Lauren Crain, A. Development and Validation of the Survey of Organizational Research Climate (SORC). Sci Eng Ethics 19, 813–834 (2013).

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