Happy Friday!

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Hilarious, especially if you hear it in a high pitched, squeaky voice!

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Sheldon’s Fun-day Friday

This week I am appalled by the entire human race.

ALL OF YOU.

And not just because you refuse to add in a ramp at the Starbucks counter so I can order my venti-half caff- caramel drizzle-skim –no foam-and for the love of god no whip coffee without fear of getting skipped or stepped on. Which is rude, by the way. This week has just been a downward spiral of horror.

It didn’t start off that bad.  I managed to only be slightly appalled at BritBrit and more appalled at the fact that I refer to her as BritBrit. I even handled the birth of Pig Country into the Kardashian Family with freaking grace. Then, this happened.

 

I don’t know what kind of ridiculous cheerios you are feeding kids these days but I’m NOT okay with this. Her dress has a side tail and a mane! It also is boasting a sweet shoulder streamer “garland”.  I’m traumatized. I’m appalled. I’m not even curious where to get the drugs to be okay with this!

I’m proposing a new public health study to deal with these types of abominations. This is more serious than zombies, people! Your future generations are at stake.

Good luck to you, minions. You obviously need it.

Use A Little Luck, And We Will Make It Work Out Better

As mentioned earlier this week, we’ve been moving our blog from WordPress servers to a private host, which will allow us to provide more and better content to you, our loyal readers, in the future.  However, thanks to the wonders of DNS caches, some folks are still reaching our old WordPress-hosted site instead of our new spiffy digs.  This is why many readers were unable to access today’s first attempt at Fun-Day Frday, as a Murphy’s Law of issues resulted in it being posted to our old setup.

Here’s a quick check to determine to which BloggingORA your ISP is directing you: If you see links to our Twitter and Facebook accounts on the column on the right, you’re still going through WordPress.  If you simply see a recitation of our previous blog entries, you’re all caught up.

[Additionally, check out the actual link to today’s offering from Sheldon.  If you can read it and it ends in -28, you’re still seeing us via WordPress.  If you can read it and it ends in -30, you’ve been reset.]

We’re posting this message to both platforms to ensure maximum coverage, and, as everyone’s ISPs flush and reset their DNS caches, the misrouting should eventually die away.  Until that happens, we apologize for any inconvenience that you may encounter and thank you, yet again, for your patience.

Sheldon’s Fun-day Friday

Location:             A Room With Only My iPod And Earbuds

Minions, we need to talk.

There’s an outbreak of epic proportions and I am a sufferer.

This week I became a lover of CMM. For those of you not in the know, that’s Call Me Maybe. It’s like 90’s-style-Britney good. . .it’s cheesy and mindless and it could be categorized as cruel and unusual punishment. But I get so excited when it comes on that I want to listen to it on repeat, all.day.long.

OH WAIT, it gets better.  Some guys from the Harvard Baseball team went on a spring break trip, one fell asleep, and they made this video/car dance. It’s simple, and there’s limited choreography, but there’s color coordination. . .it’s amazeballs!

So great, in fact, that the President of the world (okay US but basically same thing) was taped singing it. And by taped, I mean a really informed person someone really enjoyed listening to every single one of his speeches. Only to be followed by Jay Leno sharing the President and that other guy doing a car dance to it.

But you don’t hit the big time until you have a dog parody made by the famous Corgi Rae Jepsen.

Everything about this song makes me glad I’m not human. Be proud of your accomplishments, minions, this musical genius is hard to top!

The Importance of Being Published

Speak with a PI regarding the terms of a pending contract, and more often than not you’ll be told that “[clause at issue] isn’t really important because there’s no way I’ll be performing [restricted activity].”  Intellectual property, data sharing, you name it. . .the Investigator generally just wants to get the agreement signed so that he/she can get cracking on their anticipated duties.  It’s all well and good for a PI to weigh in, and sometimes their thoughts are even enlisted, but the ultimate decision with respect to term acceptance generally rests with the head of your ORA.

Occasionally, though, there are terms that certain institutions find mandatory, the so-called ‘deal-breakers.’  In these cases, consent from the General Counsel’s office or similar body is generally required to accept such limitations in a given agreement.  For JHU, one of these ‘deal breakers’ is the right to publish the results of a given project.  Publication is one of the most important facets of organized research, both for its facilitation of collaboration and its contribution to the career advancement of the author, and JHU strives to ensure that this right is protected in each of its agreements.

That being said, sponsors are sometimes leery of granting blanket publication rights to research institutions.  First, the sponsor may be concerned that its proprietary information might be disclosed publicly.  Along the same lines, if the research has yielded commercially viable intellectual property, the sponsor may wish to prevent publication until all IP rights have been protected appropriately.  In both of these situations, any sponsor concerns can generally be alleviated by providing them an opportunity to review any proposed article prior to publication and request that its confidential information be removed, or even request a short delay so that patent applications can be filed on any included patentable technologies.

However, every once in a while, universities will encounter sponsors who refuse to budge from their offered terms, and demand that any publications be ‘approved’ by the sponsor prior to dissemination.  Most institutions have their own internal guidelines to help in their decision, but there are generally three main considerations:

1.            Does the sponsor have a legitimate reason for wanting to control publication?  Certain defense-related projects require confidentiality, and thus a publication restriction may be viable.

2.            Do all of the project personnel agree to abide by the restriction?  All parties involved in the research, not just the PI, must be aware of and consent to the restriction and its ramifications.

3.            Are any graduate students involved in the project?  At the very least, the university must protect the ability to publish a final thesis.

If nos. 1 and 2 can be answered with a ‘Yes,’ and no. 3 can be answered with a ‘No,’ the damage from accepting such terms is likely less than it could be.  However, ultimately , your institutional brain trust will weigh the above against its own policies to determine how best to proceed.

NCURA’s YouTube Tuesday

Today’s installment of NCURA’s YouTube Tuesday focuses on considerations that must be addressed when a PI accepts work as a direct consultant, and how these differ to those that arise when the PI’s efforts are covered in a more formal sponsored project agreement.  Even though consultants are technically working on their own behalf, their responsibilities and obligations may abut and even occasionally run contrary to those of the consultant’s employing institution.  Consequently, while not every ORA reviews faculty consulting agreements, it’s important that all PIs are, at the very least, educated with respect to their duties and encouraged to seek guidance if any questions arise.

Don’t forget to visit NCURA’s YouTube page for even more instructional and helpful videos!

Branding your Social Media

Each Office of Research Administration (or however you are aptly named) is merely a part of a greater University or institution. In our case, we are a (relatively) small office of a school within a greater University, but to prevent an identity crisis we claim JHSPH as our home base.  In large part, this is due to us wanting to attach ourselves to an entity that is internationally known, as it affords us visibility that wouldn’t ordinarily be available.

Clearly, universities and colleges alike strive to successfully brand themselves, using mascots, emblems, buildings and apparel to promote their name, recruit new students, and raise money.  As has become quite clear, these institutions as a whole are joining the social media craze with determination, recognizing it as a strong recruiting source that offers large amounts of free publicity.  Facebook and Twitter are regularly used to promote campus events, new awards, sports titles and news, with the hope that these activities will to attract new enthusiasts and retain regular followers.

However, with universities launching entire media campaigns based solely on social media, it is a surprise that so few research administration offices are taking advantage of their benefits.  Even though an ORA doesn’t necessarily need to promote itself to maintain its standing, attaching your office with the institution under which you operate can provide substantial benefits.  Given that Facebook is the easiest social media platform with which to begin, here are a few helpful pointers for you to consider when setting up your page.

 

Take advantage of your cover photo and profile picture. Both are easily the first chance you have to communicate your connection to your university.  For your profile picture, mascots or emblems are the strongest way to create a connection between your office and the university, as they are visual representations of your university and easily identifiable by others with whom you are connected.  Using a known quantity such as the school logo will make your page more reputable and more inviting for potential followers. Your cover photo is another place for you to help someone to make the connection. For us, JHSPH is a long acronym for someone new to Hopkins to grasp, so we chose an easily identifiable exterior photograph of the Bloomberg School of Public Health.  Alternatively, while we chose not to do so, matching your cover photo to that of your institution provides another visual connection for those who stumble upon your page and reinforce the link between both entities.

 

Connect with your University on Facebook. Although this is the most straight forward and common sense action, it is often the most easily forgotten.  Simply following or ‘Like’-ing your University’s page is not enough.  Obtaining the social media endorsement of your University (through them following your own page) is a step forward to ensuring that your information is getting to the largest group of people possible. Although this may require some leg work to contact those in charge of social media in your school, the payoff is greatly worth it.

 

Provide sufficient contact information.  Providing followers additional means with which to reach your office is equally as important on Facebook as it is on your regular school website.  We have updated our ‘About’ section on Facebook with our office contact phone number and general email box to encourage people to contact us outside of Facebook and to provide another avenue to connect with our readers.

 

Provide links to your events or important information.  Posting bland, static updates is rarely enough to obtain and hold the interest of your readership, so providing links and related information is important for both advertising reasons and information dissemination purposes.  Your goal is make sure that people are getting something out of their participation in your page and have reason to stick around and check back regularly.  Additionally, you want to show up on your followers’ newsfeeds regularly with new information and reminders.  Even something as innocuous as a link to an NIH-hosted reminder will help positively reinforce your readers’ decision to keep tabs on your site.  Universities seldom let their social media go quiet for more than 24 hours, so your ORA should follow suit.

Sheldon’s Fun-day Friday

Stop 10 — Monroeville, PA

Distance from previous location: 826 miles

Total distance traveled (on purpose) 11,432 miles

Dearest minions, I was on my way from scenic Iowa to Long Island to see I’ll Have Another try to make history, but two-thirds of the way there something stopped me cold. As your fearless leader, I feel a duty to warn you all.

[Now try not to overreact; panicking makes you age quicker.]

THE ZOMBIES ARE COMING!!!! And they’re going to eat your face.

Regardless of what the CDC claims, you are all going to get EATEN. Not me, of course, turtles aren’t affected by zombie apocalypses. Just another way we are superior to humans. . .maybe you should invest in some shells.

Anyway, what I love most about a good apocalypse are the people who want to take advantage of the fun to be had. For example, this guy decided to dress like a zombie and chase random people around Miami. A large part of me is really excited for this dude’s ability to realize that entertaining me is more important than living. A small part of me was worried the whole time that some prepared citizen would double-tap him.

Luckily for you, if you actually decide that the undead are your people, there’s an entire city in Pennsylvania that would LOVE to have you. Forget the pedestrian stuff like ammo. Monroeville, PA, has a Zombie Mall that hosts a Zombie crawl, Zombie carnival, and other activities relating to … you guessed it, zombies. Humans have weird fascinations with other humans (or themselves) becoming the undead, and that’s only increased given the latest happenings. To combat those nerves, the CDC, in their infinite wisdom, created a Zombie Novella to help you prepare.

Listen, I appreciate the government spending my your tax dollars to address the most pressing problems of the day, and this instance is no different. However, I decided to read said Novella on your behalf, and there are a few problems:

1. There was a Zombie apocalypse and everyone rushed to the hospital. . .no one tried to leave town! I would be getting the heck out of dodge, but apparently the CDC was SO convincing that they stayed put. FALSE! When the apocalypse does occur, run for your lives, minions!

2. The CDC magically created an anti-virus in less than a week and shipped it. Umm, this is the federal government we’re talking about. It would take about 3 weeks for just someone to process the paperwork!

3. There was not a single protest. No one protested for the ethical treatment of zombies! Or the right to choose whether or not to get the anti-zombie shot! Wishful thinking, CDC, wishful thinking.

4. There were no clinical trials for the Zombie cure. They may have stopped the Zombie virus but given everyone a strain that turns them into vampires or werewolves. I DON’T FEEL SAFE.

5. Not a single zombie was shot, killed or dismembered. Puhlease, this is mass chaos of a zombie apocalypse. I at LEAST want to see a stray arm that some unsuspecting zombie lost while arm wrestling!

Overall, you’re probably doomed, but I’m sure you’re fine with it. I’m a little concerned as to who is going to chop my fruit into little pieces if everyone’s a zombie, but I guess I can always train a dog or something to do it. Good luck, minions! You’ll need it.

From The Vault: Revised Budget Submission Policy

[Occasionally, we like to revisit posts from days gone by that either (1) are always relevant, or (2) are the subject of recent questions received by our office.  Like last time, today’s Oldie But Goodie falls into both categories, as we continue to receive questions regarding revised budgets in COEUS.]

Originally Published February 15, 2012

Although ORA’s intention is always to minimize the administrative burden and system requirements for departments, the changing landscape has resulted in a dramatic increase in reduced budgets. Because many of these budgets have specific disallowed costs included in the cuts, and not just across-the-board percentage cuts, the University requires that documentation of those cuts are recorded.  Therefore, revised budgets will be required to be submitted through Coeus as “Revision” in the following instances:

A revised itemized budget is submitted to the sponsor

  • A formal or informal notice of reduction by Sponsor affecting funding levels by any percentage when it includes specific line item reductions or disallowances that are not explicitly outlined in the NOA
  • For grants, the reduction is 25% or greater of the original budget (this does not apply to federal training grants)
  • For cooperative agreements/contracts, the reduction is 10% or greater of the original budget
  • There is a change in the number/type of training grant slots on a federal training grant

Significant reductions (25% for basic research grants, 10% for cooperative agreements or contracts) will also require a revised Statement of Work consistent with the budget cut.

Procedure:

Revised budget submission will be initiated immediately upon notification of reduction by sponsor in accordance with the criteria above.

    1. If department learns of need to rebudget from sponsor, department should immediately contact ORA for confirmation of need to submit revised budget through Coeus.
    2. If ORA first learns of need to rebudget, ORA will contact department to create a Coeus PD record.
  1. Department creates a Coeus PD using “Revision” proposal type, and links to the previous IPN.  The revised budget can be uploaded as a spreadsheet. The only additional documentation required to be included in the Revision PD is the request from the sponsor, if applicable.
  2. Only once ORA has approved the Revision PD will the revised budget be submitted to the sponsor, if necessary.
  3. All contact with sponsor regarding revised budgets must be coordinated through ORA.

Note: Budgets submitted for Task Orders on established Master Agreements must be submitted in Coeus as “New Task Order” prior to submission to the sponsor.