Postdoctoral Responsibilities

Conform to Established Policies and Procedures

Postdoctoral Scholars are required to comply with all established policies and procedures of the research group, Department, and University. These include, but are not limited to:

  • The conscientious discharge of research responsibilities;
  • Conformity with ethical standards in research;
  • Participation in Responsible Conduct of Research training as required;
  • Maintenance of adequate research records;
  • Compliance with University standards and regulations governing laboratory practices including but not limited to the use of isotopes, chemicals, infectious agents, animals, biosafety, and human subject research if the Scholar is engaged in these activities;
  • Open and timely discussion with his/her advisor regarding possession or distribution of publications, materials, reagents, or records relevant to the research project, and any proposed disclosure of findings or techniques privately or in publications;
  • Collegial conduct towards co-workers and members of the research group;
  • Compliance with all applicable University policies;
  • Assurance that any work performed outside of the University does not conflict with the University’s Business Conduct Policy or Intellectual Property Policy, and the Advisor is informed of such activities.

Ownership of Research Data, Notebooks, and Reagents

Applicable to postdoctoral scholars who are using university facilities in the conduct of their research.

It is the policy of Tufts University that all notebooks, research data, and reagents generated in Tufts University research groups are the property of the University. These materials must remain with the research advisor at the termination of the postdoctoral position.

Intellectual property rights are governed by the Tufts University Policy on Rights and Responsibilities with regard to Intellectual Property.

Communicate Research Results to Advisor

The Advisor is normally the frontline source of information and the one who typically sets standards for the conduct of efficient, ethical and productive research. Therefore, communication between a Postdoctoral Scholar and his/her Advisor is of utmost importance and should be regarded as both an opportunity and a responsibility. A Postdoctoral Scholar should meet regularly with his/her Advisor according to a mutually convenient schedule. These meetings should be used to apprise the Advisor of the research results, for the development and troubleshooting of approaches, to provide direction and focus to the research, to air concerns and conflicts, and to express mutual expectations.

Publish Research Results

One goal of Postdoctoral research is the dissemination of knowledge to the professional community. It is expected that the Postdoctoral Scholar’s research will be of publishable quality, and be published in a journal or book appropriate to the field in a timely manner. A Postdoctoral Scholar is responsible for writing his/her manuscripts, with guidance from the Advisor. The Scholar should participate in writing grant applications and reports that pertain to the research. If a Postdoctoral Scholar working in a laboratory based research group fails to write up his/her results in a timely fashion, the Advisor may choose to do so, since publications are critical for continued funding.

Participate in the Activities of the Research Group and Department

As part of the training experience, Postdoctoral Scholars are expected to participate in all formal and informal academic endeavors of the Advisor’s research group and/or the Department. These activities include, but are not limited to:

  • Group meetings;
  • Joint meetings with other groups having a similar research orientation;
  • Journal clubs for in-depth discussion of recent primary research literature;
  • Regular research seminars.

Postdoctoral Scholars may be encouraged to audit specific graduate courses to make up for gaps in knowledge or to expand expertise. Finally, Postdoctoral Scholars in laboratory-based research groups should be involved in training/mentoring junior members of the laboratory – graduate and undergraduate students and technicians – all under the guidance of the research Advisor.

Responsible Conduct of Research

Postdoctoral Scholars supported by NIH training grants or fellowships or NSF fellowships are required to complete training in Responsible Conduct of Research. To assist scholars in meeting this requirement, the Office of the Vice Provost offers this training annually. Postdoctoral Scholars who are supported by agencies requiring this training are responsible for completing the course during their first year. In recognition of the importance of research ethics, all Postdoctoral Scholars are encouraged to explore this training opportunity.