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ON BEING A SCIENTIST A GUIDE TO RESPONSIBLE CONDUCT IN RESEARCH T H I R D E D I T I O N Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy
THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESSâ 500 Fifth Street, N.W.â Washington, DC 20001 NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Gov- erning Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineer- ing, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance. This study was supported by Contract/Grant No. SES-0450918 between the Na- tional Academy of Sciences and the National Science Foundation. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the organizations or agencies that provided support for the project. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data On being a scientist : a guide to responsible conduct in research / Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy, National Academy of Science, National Academy of Engineering, and Institute of Medicine of the National Academies. â 3rd ed. p. cm. Includes bibliographical references. ISBN-13: 978-0-309-11970-2 (pbk.) ISBN-10: 0-309-11970-7 (pbk.) 1. Research. 2. ResearchâVocational guidance. 3. ScientistsâVocational guidance. I. National Academies (U.S.). Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy. Q180.A1O5 2009 174â.95âdc22 2009004516 Additional copies of this report are available from the National Academies Press, 500 Fifth Street, N.W., Lockbox 285, Washington, DC 20055; (800) 624-6242 or (202) 334-3313 (in the Washington metropolitan area); Internet, http://www.nap.edu. Copyright 2009 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America
The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general wel- fare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding en- gineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineer- ing programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Charles M. Vest is presi- dent of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Insti- tute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr.Â Harvey V. Fineberg is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sci- ences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academyâs purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone and Dr. Charles M. Vest are chair and vice chair, respectively, of the National Research Council. www.national-academies.org
COMMITTEE ON BEING A SCIENTIST Carolyn Bertozzi [NAS] (Chair), Investigator, HHMI and Professor of Chemistry and Molecular and Cell Biology, University of California; Director, The Molecular Foundry, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley, CA John F. Ahearne [NAE], Executive Director Emeritus, Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society, Research Triangle Park, NC Francisco J. Ayala [NAS], University Professor and Donald Bren Professor of Biological Sciences, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of California, Irvine, CA Andrea L. Bertozzi, Professor of Mathematics, Director of Applied Mathematics, University of California, Los Angeles, CA David J. Bishop, CTO/COO of LGS, Alcatel-Lucent, Murray Hill, NJ Gary L. Comstock, Professor of Philosophy, and Editor-in-Chief of the Open Seminar in Research Ethics, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC Frances A. Houle, Research Staff Member, IBM Almaden Research Center, San Jose, CA Deborah G. Johnson, Anne Shirley Carter Olsson Professor of Applied Ethics, Department of Science, Technology, and Society, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA Michael C. Loui, Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Illinois, Urbana, IL Rebecca R. Richard-Kortum, Stanley C. Moore Professor and Chair of the Bioengineering Department, Rice University, Houston, TX Nicholas H. Steneck, Director, Research Ethics and Integrity Program, Michigan Institute for Clinical and Health Research, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI Michael J. Zigmond, Professor of Neurology and Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA Principal Support Staff Richard E. Bissell, Study Director Deborah D. Stine, Study Director (until 2007) Steve Olson, Consultant/Writer
Kathrin Humphrey, Associate Program Officer Neeraj P. Gorkhaly, Senior Program Assistant Peter Hunsberger, Financial Associate Sabrina Jedlicka, Christine Mirzayan Science & Technology Policy Graduate Fellow Marinina Kammersell, Christine Mirzayan Science & Technology Policy Graduate Fellow Kelly Kroeger, Christine Mirzayan Science & Technology Policy Graduate Fellow vi
COMMITTEE ON SCIENCE, ENGINEERING, AND PUBLIC POLICY George M. Whitesides (Chair), Woodford L. and Ann A. Flowers University Professor, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA Claude R. Canizares, Vice President for Research, Associate Provost, Bruno Rossi Professor of Physics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA Ralph J. Cicerone (Ex-officio), President, National Academy of Sciences, Washington, DC Edward F. Crawley, Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics and of Engineering Systems, Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA Ruth A. David, President and CEO of ANSER Institute for Homeland Security (Analytic Services, Inc.), Arlington, VA Haile T. Debas, Chancellor Emeritus, University of California, San Francisco Harvey Fineberg (Ex-officio), President, Institute of Medicine, Washington, DC Jacques S. Gansler, Roger C. Lipitz Chair in Public Policy and Private Enterprise, School of Public Policy, University of Maryland, College Park Elsa M. Garmire, Sydney E. Junkins Professor of Engineering, Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH M.R.C. Greenwood (Ex-officio), Chair, Policy and Global Affairs, Natonal Research Council; and Professor of Nutrition and Internal Medicine, University of California, Davis W. Carl Lineberger, Professor of Chemistry, University of Colorado, Boulder C. Dan Mote, Jr. (Ex-officio), President, University of Maryland, College Park Robert M. Nerem, Professor and Director, Parker H. Petit Institute for Bioengineering and Bioscience, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta Lawrence T. Papay, CEO and Principal, PQR, LLC, Maineville, OH Anne C. Petersen, Deputy Director, Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA vii
Susan C. Scrimshaw, President, The Sage Colleges, Troy, NY William J. Spencer, Chairman Emeritus, SEMATECH, Austin, TX Lydia Thomas (Ex-officio), Co-Chair, Government-University- Industry Research Roundtable Charles M. Vest (Ex-Officio), President, National Academy of Engineering, Washington, DC Nancy S. Wexler, Higgins Professor of Neuropsychology, Columbia University, New York, NY Mary Lou Zoback, Vice President for Earthquake Risk Applications, Risk Management Solutions, Inc., Newark, CA viii
Preface The scientific enterprise is built on a foundation of trust. Society trusts that scientific research results are an honest and accurate reflection of a researcherâs work. Researchers equally trust that their colleagues have gathered data carefully, have used appropriate ana- lytic and statistical techniques, have reported their results accurately, and have treated the work of other researchers with respect. When this trust is misplaced and the professional standards of science are violated, researchers are not just personally affrontedâthey feel that the base of their profession has been undermined. This would impact the relationship between science and society. On Being a Scientist: A Guide to Responsible Conduct in Research presents an overview of the professional standards of science and explains why adherence to those standards is essential for continued scientific progress. In accordance with the previous editions published in 1989 and 1995, this guide provides an overview of professional standards in research. It further aims to highlight particular challenges the science community faces in the early 21st century. While directed primarily ix
Preface toward graduate students, postdocs, and junior faculty in an academic setting, this guide is useful for scientists at all stages in their education and careers, including those working for industry and government. Thus, the term âscientistâ in the title and the text applies very broadly and includes all researchers engaged in the pursuit of new knowledge through investigations that apply scientific methods. In the past, beginning researchers learned the standards of sci- ence largely by participating in research and by observing other researchers make decisions about the interpretation of data and the presentation of results and interactions with their colleagues. They discussed professional practices with their peers, with support staff, and with more experienced researchers. They learned how the broad ethical values we honor in everyday life apply in the context of sci- ence. During that learning process, research advisers and mentors in particular can have a profound effect on the professional and personal development of beginning researchers, as is discussed in this guide. This assimilation of professional standards through experience re- mains vitally important. However, many beginning researchers are not learning enough about the standards of science through research experiences. Science nowadays is so fast-paced and complex that experienced researchers often do not have the time or opportunity to explain why a decision was made or an action taken. Institutional, local, state, and federal guidelines can be overwhelming, confusing, and ambiguous. And beginning researchers do not always get the best advice from others or witness exemplary behavior. Anonymous surveys show that many researchers admit to engaging in irresponsible practices or have wit- nessed others doing so. Furthermore, changes within science have complicated efforts Martinson, B.C., Anderson, M.S., and de Vries, R. âScientists Behaving Badly.â Nature 435(2005):737-738. Kirby, K., and Houle, F. A. Ethics and the Welfare of the Physics Profession. Physics Today 57 (11):42-49.
Preface xi to ensure that every researcher has a solid grounding in the profes- sional codes of science. Though support for research has grown substantially in recent years, exciting opportunities have continued to multiply faster than resources, and the resulting disparity between opportunities and resources has further reduced the time available to researchers to discuss professional standards. As research has be- come more interdisciplinary and multinational, it has become more difficult to ensure that communication among the members of a re- search project is sufficient. Increased ties among academic, industrial, and governmental researchers have strengthened research but have also increased the potential for conflicts. And the rapid advance of technologyâincluding digital communications technologiesâhas created a wealth of new capabilities and new challenges. In this changing environment of the early 21st century, a short guide like On Being a Scientist can provide only an introduction to the responsible conduct of research. Readers are thus encouraged to use the âAdditional Resourcesâ section of this guide, which lists many valuable publications, Web sites, and other materials on scientific eth- ics and professional standards, to find further material that explores this discourse. The challenges posed particularly by the increasing number of global and multinational ties within the science com- munity will be further addressed in a subsequent publication of the National Research Council. Established researchers have a special responsibility in uphold- ing and promulgating high standards in science. They should serve as role models for their students and for fellow researchers, and they should exemplify responsible practices in their teaching and their conversations with others. They have a professional obligation to cre- ate positive research environments and to respond to concerns about irresponsible behaviors. Established researchers can themselves gain a new appreciation for the importance of professional standards by
xii Preface thinking about the topics presented in this guide and by discussing those topics with their research groups and students. In this way, they help to maintain the foundations of the scientific enterprise and its reputation with society. Ralph J. Cicerone President, National Academy of Sciences Charles M. Vest President, National Academy of Engineering Harvey V. Fineberg President, Institute of Medicine
Acknowledgments The original On Being a Scientist was produced under the auspices of the National Academy of Sciences by the Committee on the Conduct of Science, which consisted of Robert McCormick Adams, Francisco Ayala (chair), Mary-Dell Chilton, Gerald Holton, David Hull, Kumar Patel, Frank Press, Michael Ruse, and Phillip Sharp. The second edition was prepared under the auspices of the Com- mittee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy (COSEPUP), which is a joint committee of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The revision was overseen by a guidance group consisting of Robert McCormick Adams, David Challoner, Bernard Fields, Kumar Patel, Frank Press, and Phillip Sharp. The third edition also was prepared under the auspices of COSEPUP by the committee listed on the previous pages. Debbie Stine and Richard Bissell were study directors for the revision, Neeraj Gorkhaly provided administrative support, and Steve Olson served as consultant writer. This report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance xiii
xiv Acknowledgments with procedures approved by the National Academiesâ Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making its published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and respon- siveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manu- script remain confidential to protect the integrity of the process. We wish to thank the following individuals for their review of this report: Jean-Pierre Alix, Centre National de la Recherche Sci- entifique; Paul Bevilaqua, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company; Lewis Branscomb, Harvard University; Stephanie Bird, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Haile Debas, University of California, San Francisco; Michael Fisher, University of Maryland, College Park; Elizabeth Heitman, Vanderbilt University; Yvette Huet-Hudson, University of North Carolina; Michael Kalichman, University of California, San Diego; Daniel Kleppner, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Stephen Maldonado, California Institute of Technol- ogy; Terry May, Michigan State University; Victoria McGovern, Burroughs Wellcome Fund; Ping Sun, Ministry of Science and Tech- nology, China; Yonette Thomas, National Institute on Drug Abuse; and Julio Turrens, University of South Alabama. Although the reviewers listed above have provided many con- structive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the conclusions or recommendations, nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release. The review of this report was overseen by David Challoner, University of Florida. Appointed by the National Academies, he was responsible for making certain that an indepen- dent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authoring committee and the institution.
A Note on Using On Being a Scientist For many graduate students, a seminar, class, or instructional module is their first formal exposure to responsible conduct in research. The guide On Being A Scientist explores the reasons for specific actions rather than stating definite conclusions about what should or should not be done in particular situations, and it can be used in formal ses- sions as well as for individual readings. Scientific knowledge is achieved collectively through discussion and debate. Collective deliberation is an equally good way to explore how professional standards influence research. Group discussion can reveal the issues involved in a decision, connect those issues to more general standards, explore the interests and perspectives of different stakeholders, and identify possible strategies for resolving problems. The guide On Being a Scientist hopes to stimulate group discussions, whether in orientations, seminars, research settings, or informal meet- ings.These discussions should include active researchers who bring their practical experience to the discussion and demonstrate by their presence that they recognize the critical importance of responsible conduct. The case studies included in this guide can be valuable to xv
xvi A N o t e on Using On Being a Scientist the group discussions by introducing different scenarios and thus fostering a debate. Yet, the material presented in On Being a Scientist is not exhaustive. Thus, the publications, Web sites, and other materials listed in the âAdditional Resourcesâ section provide many opportuni- ties to further explore issues of professional standards raised in this guide. The Appendix contains brief discussions that relate the case stud- ies to the professional standards discussed in the guide. The existence of professional standards implies that there are better and worse ways of approaching particular problems. At the same time, individuals interpret the cases in different ways, depending on their own experi- ence and convictions. These different interpretations may be revealed particularly during panel discussions, which could include researchers who are at different stages of their careersâfor example, a graduate student, a postdoctoral fellow, a junior faculty member, and a senior faculty member. Panels also can include individuals who have direct experience with administering programs or teaching classes on the responsible conduct of research. These individuals can relate the wide range of issues and perspectives involved in a particular case to professional standards. Finally, training in the responsible conduct of research is too important to be relegated to a single seminar or Web-based tutorial. Responsible conduct is an essential part of good research and should not be separated from the rest of the curriculum. Since all researchers need to be able to analyze complex issues of professional practice and act accordingly, every course in science and related topics and every research experience should include discussions of ethical issues. Ide- ally, these discussions will continue during mentoring and advising sessions. It is hoped that this guide lays a foundation for those discus- sions, raising awareness and promoting debates among all researchers on matters of scientific ethics.
Contents Introduction to the Responsible Conduct of Research 1 Terminology: Values, Standards, and Practices, 3 Advising and Mentoring 4 Case Study: A Change of Plans, 5 Advice: Choosing a Research Group, 6 The Treatment of Data 8 Case Study: The Selection of Data, 10 Mistakes and Negligence 12 Historic Case Study: Changing Knowledge, 13 Case Study: Discovering an Error, 14 Research Misconduct 15 Historic Case Study: A Breach of Trust, 16 Case Study: Fabrication in a Grant Proposal, 17 Case Study: Is It Plagiarism?, 18 Responding to Suspected Violations of Professional Standards 19 Historic Case Study: Treatment of Misconduct by a Journal, 21 Case Study: A Career in the Balance, 22 xvii
xviii Contents Human Participants and Animal Subjects in Research 24 Case Study: Tests on Students, 25 Case Study: A Change of Protocol, 26 Laboratory Safety in Research 28 Sharing of Research Results 29 Historic Case Study: The Race to Publish, 31 Case Study: Publication Practices, 32 A dvice: Restrictions on Peer Review and the Flow of Scientific Information, 34 Authorship and the Allocation of Credit 35 Case Study: Who Gets Credit?, 36 H istoric Case Study: Who Should Get Credit for the Discovery of Pulsars?, 38 Intellectual Property 39 Case Study: A Commercial Opportunity?, 42 Competing Interests, Commitments, and Values 43 Case Study: A Conflict of Commitment, 45 A dvice: Does the Source of Research Funding Influence Research Findings?, 47 The Researcher in Society 48 Historic Case Study: Ending the Use of Agent Orange, 49 Appendix: Discussion of Case Studies 51 Additional Resources 57