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Integrity in Scientific Research: Creating an Environment that Promotes Responsible Conduct 5 Promoting Integrity in Research through Education For many institutions, the impetus for the development of educational programs in the responsible conduct of research came from the 1989 mandate of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to provide such education to all graduate students and postdoctoral fellows supported by National Research Service Awards (NIH, 1989). However, in this chapter, the committee argues that the provision of instruction in the responsible conduct of research derives from a premise fundamental to doing science: the responsible conduct of research is not distinct from research; on the contrary, competency in research entails responsible conduct and the capacity for ethical decision making. Indeed, the committee argues that integrity in research should be developed in the context of an overall research education program. The committee believes that doing so will be the best way to accomplish the following five objectives: emphasize that responsible conduct is central to conducting good science; maximize the likelihood that education in the responsible conduct of research influences individuals and institutions rather than merely satisfies an item on a “check-off” list for that institution; impart essential standards and guidelines regarding responsible conduct in one’s discipline;
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Integrity in Scientific Research: Creating an Environment that Promotes Responsible Conduct enable participants in the educational programs to develop abilities1 that will help them to effectively manage concerns related to responsible conduct of research as they arise in the future; and verify that the first four objectives have been met. The committee believes that useful insight into the best practice for education in the responsible conduct of research comes by analogy to the education of students in the critical analysis of the research literature in their fields. How is critical reading taught? First, students are introduced to the primary literature as soon as they enter an educational program. Second, the complexity of the readings and the depth of the analysis are gradually increased. Third, critical reading of journal articles, under the guidance of a mentor, is integrated into all aspects of the curriculum: core courses, seminars, the design of research projects, and the preparation of research manuscripts. Fourth, critical reading is taught by the very scientists who provide instruction in other aspects of research and who serve as primary role models. Finally, student competence is tested whenever students are asked to provide support for their ideas and conclusions. Consistent with the principles of effective instruction, assessment and feedback are continually provided from a student’s first seminar presentation to the final thesis defense and submission of manuscripts for publication. Education in the responsible conduct of research should be no less integral to the education of a researcher (Fischer and Zigmond, 1996; Gifford, 1994; Hensel, 1991). This principle was adopted by the National Academy of Sciences in 1992: “Scientists and research institutes should integrate into their curricula educational programs that foster faculty and student awareness of concerns related to the integrity of the research process” (emphasis added) (NAS, 1992). Moreover, when this committee advocates the promotion of integrity in the institutional research environment, it is advocating the creation of a climate in the institution, the department, and the research group that promotes integrity in research. The committee recommends a model for education in the responsible conduct of research that includes the following principles: 1 Abilities are complex combinations of motivations, dispositions, attitudes, values, knowledge of concepts and procedures, skills, strategies, and behaviors. These combinations are dynamic and interactive, and they can be acquired and developed through both education and experience (Mentkowski, 2000).
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Integrity in Scientific Research: Creating an Environment that Promotes Responsible Conduct The educational program should be built around the development of abilities that give rise to responsible conduct. These include the ability to (a) identify the ethical dimensions of situations that arise in the research setting and the laws, regulations, and guidelines governing one’s field that apply to those situations (ethical sensitivity); (b) develop defensible rationales for a choice of action (ethical reasoning); (c) integrate the values of one’s professional discipline with one’s own personal values (identity formation) and appropriately prioritize professional values over personal ones (showing moral motivation and commitment); and (d) perform with integrity the complex tasks (e.g., communicate ideas and results, obtain funding, teach, and supervise) that are essential to one’s career (survival skills2). The program should be designed in accordance with basic principles of adult learning. In particular, education in the responsible conduct of research should (a) be provided within the context of the overall education program, including adviser-trainee interactions, the core discipline-specific curriculum, and explicit education in professional skills; (b) take place over an extended period of time, preferably the entire educational program, and include review, practice, and assessment; and (c) involve active learning, including interactions among the instructors and the trainees. The instruction should be provided as much as possible by faculty who are actively engaged in research related to that of the trainees. This chapter is divided into four sections. It begins by briefly discussing abilities that should form the basis of education in the responsible conduct of research. It then outlines some of the emerging principles of adult learning. Next, it discusses how one might develop an effective curriculum, including how best to make use of the approaches now being used at many institutions. The final section summarizes the committee’s findings. Educational efforts on the responsible conduct of research should be designed to reach everyone involved in scientific research. As noted in Chapter 2, institutional leaders (e.g., chancellors, presidents, deans, chief executive officers) set the tone for the institutions with their own actions. Similarly, research leaders set an example with their own research practices. As discussed in Chapter 3, evidence from the organizational research literature demonstrates a relationship between supervisor behavior and the ethical conduct of the members of an organization (Posner and Schmidt, 1982, 1984; Walker et al., 1979). Continuing education of senior 2 Here the term skills is not used in the narrow sense that suggests a dichotomy between knowing and doing.
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Integrity in Scientific Research: Creating an Environment that Promotes Responsible Conduct researchers and administrators demonstrates a commitment of leadership to integrity in research and may help close the gap between what is taught and what trainees and junior staff see in practice (Hafferty and Franks, 1994; Hundert, 1996). Without formal training for all existing researchers and an instructional program for new staff and researchers, an institution will not be able to develop a consistent message to trainees and students. CREATING A LEARNING ENVIRONMENT THAT FOSTERS INTEGRITY IN RESEARCH To create a learning environment that fosters integrity in research, educators need to consider what is known about the development of integrity in other professional contexts and what that information suggests about the abilities that enable responsible conduct. A substantial body of literature drawn from a variety of research traditions (Rest, 1983) indicates that whether professionals engage in responsible professional conduct depends on the developmental abilities briefly described in point 1 above and explained more fully in the sections that follow. Research also demonstrates that individuals participating in a formal educational program and seasoned professionals can be influenced by an educational environment that provides opportunities to develop the four abilities mentioned in point 1 above (Bebeau, 2001). (For operational definitions of each of the psychological processes from which the abilities are defined, see the Four-Component Model of Morality in Box 5-1.) The processes related to ethical decision making consider that each of the four components is a mix of affective and cognitive processes that contribute to the component’s primary function (Bebeau et al., 1999; Rest, 1983) (see Chapter 3). The implication, then, is to teach the abilities (derived from these psychological processes) in context, as proposed in the sections that follow. Interpreting the Ethical Dimensions of Problems in the Research Setting Ethical sensitivity involves the awareness by researchers of how their actions affect others. In addition to the ability to anticipate the reactions and feelings of colleagues, supervisors, research participants, and others, ethical sensitivity involves being aware of alternative courses of action and how each could affect the parties concerned. It also involves the ability to construct possible scenarios with knowledge of cause-consequence chains of events in the research environment. Ethical sensitivity requires empathy and role-taking skills. For individuals being socialized to the research setting, ethical sensitivity involves the ability to see things
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Integrity in Scientific Research: Creating an Environment that Promotes Responsible Conduct BOX 5-1 The Four-Component Model of Morality Starting from the question “How does moral behavior come about?” Rest (1983) suggested that the literature supports at least four component processes, all of which must be activated for moral behavior to occur. These four components are: Moral sensitivity. Moral sensitivity (interpreting the situation as moral) is the awareness of how one’s actions affect other people. It involves being aware of the different possible lines of action and how each line of action could affect the parties concerned (including oneself). Moral sensitivity involves imaginatively constructing possible scenarios (often from limited cues and partial information), knowing cause-consequence chains of events in the real world, and having empathy and role-taking skills. Moral sensitivity is necessary to become aware that a moral issue is involved in a situation. Moral judgment. Once a person is aware that various lines of action are possible, one must ask which line of action is more justified morally. This is the process emphasized in the work of Piaget (1932) and Kohlberg (1984). Even at an early stage in life, people have intuitions about what is fair and moral and make moral judgments about even the most complex of human activities. Moral motivation and commitment. Moral motivation and commitment involves prioritization of moral values over other personal values. People have many values (e.g., values related to their careers, affectional relationships, aesthetic preferences, institutional loyalties, hedonistic pleasures, and things that excite them). Moral motivation and moral character and competence. Moral character and competence is having the strength of your convictions, having courage, persisting, overcoming distractions and obstacles, having implementing skills, and having ego strength. A person may be sensitive to moral issues, have good judgment, and prioritize moral values; but if he or she is lacking in moral character and competence, he or she may wilt under pressure or fatigue, may not follow through, and may be distracted or discouraged, and moral behavior will fail. This component presupposes that one has set goals, has self-discipline and controls impulses, and has the strength and skill to act in accord with one’s goals. It is noteworthy that the model is not conceived as a linear problem-solving model. For example, moral motivation may affect moral sensitivity, and moral character may constrain moral motivation. In fact, Rest (1983) makes clear the interactive nature of the components. Furthermore, and in contrast to other models of moral function that focus on the traditional three domains—cognitions, affect, and behavior (Eisenberg, 1986; Lickona, 1991)—the Four-Component Model of Morality assumes that cognition and affect co-occur in all areas of moral functioning. Thus, moral action is not simply the result of separate affective and cognitive processes operating as part of an interaction. Instead, each of the four components is a mix of affective and cognitive processes that contribute to the component’s primary function (e.g., identifying a situation as moral). Bebeau and colleagues (1999) suggest that researchers focus attention on identifying processes as they contribute to moral action rather than attempting to understand moral actions from a starting point defined by arbitrarily dividing moral functioning into cognitions, affect, and behavior. SOURCE: Adapted from Bebeau et al. (1999).
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Integrity in Scientific Research: Creating an Environment that Promotes Responsible Conduct from the perspective of other individuals and groups (including other cultural and socioeconomic groups), and, more abstractly, from legal, institutional, and national perspectives. Thus, it includes learning the laws, regulations, guidelines, and norms of one’s profession and recognizing when they apply. In professional settings, the focus is on ethical sensitivity, rather than the more general “moral sensitivity” described in the operational definition (Box 5-1), to signal the distinctive expectations of the researcher that derive from the norms and rules that govern research practice. Research on ethical sensitivity in professional settings indicates that (1) ethical sensitivity can be reliably assessed, (2) students and professionals vary in their sensitivities to ethical issues, (3) ethical sensitivity can be enhanced through instruction, and (4) the sensitivity to issues is distinct from the ability to reason about issues (Bebeau, 2001). See Appendix B for a more extensive discussion of the findings from several professions that have studied ethical sensitivity in relationship to professional performance. Teaching Strategies Many educators are familiar with sensitivity training that addresses such topics as affirmative action, gender equity, multiculturalism, awareness of diversity, and sexual harassment; and each of these topics has an appropriate place in the research setting. However, to promote training in ethical sensitivity in the responsible conduct of research, one also needs to focus on essential policies and practices related to the conduct of research. Such issues include the use of humans and animals in research; rules and codes governing environmental health and safety; processes and procedures for dealing with allegations of misconduct; authorship policies and practices; the acquisition, management, sharing, and ownership of data; conflicts of interest and commitment; and the responsible management of grant funds (see Chapter 2). It is not that learners need to memorize policy documents and pass multiple-choice tests to demonstrate the acquisition of knowledge about details related to each of the content areas. Indeed, focusing on such details is often what learners view as demeaning. However, students need to know that such policies and guides exist and why they exist. In instructional settings they should be referred to often enough that students become familiar with them and references to them become habitual. To engage students in familiarizing themselves with the policies and practices, educators can rely on the techniques advocated in problem-based learning.
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Integrity in Scientific Research: Creating an Environment that Promotes Responsible Conduct Designing Cases Educators can design real or hypothetical situations that require learners to refer to policy guides as they identify stakeholders, consider consequences, and engage in probabilistic reasoning. What distinguishes sensitivity training from other kinds of case analysis is the way in which the instructor presents the material used to promote discussion. Distinct from the cases typically used in ethics courses, the information used in cases designed to foster ethical sensitivity is not predigested or interpreted. Instead, the case merely presents clues to a problem without signaling the particular violation of interpersonal, cultural, or normative practices that is being exhibited in the material. Through the use of such cases, learners can be directed to institutional policies and professional guidelines that set forth appropriate behavior. The challenge in a sensitivity assessment often is to distinguish the relevant information from the irrelevant information, to recognize the norms and values that should be considered, and even to recognize when these norms, rules, and values have been violated. Assessment Methods Tests of ethical sensitivity have been developed in a variety of professional settings (see Appendix B). These tests often involve the same types of cases that are used for instructional purposes and might require a student to witness on either videotape or audiotape an interaction that replicates professional interactions and that provides clues to a professional ethical dilemma (Bebeau and Rest, 1990). For example, the Racial Ethical Sensitivity Test (Brabeck, 1998) consists of five videotaped scenarios that portray acts of intolerance exhibited by professionals in school settings. Each scenario includes five to nine acts of intolerance that violate one or more of the common principles specified in codes of ethics. Developing Competence in Reasoning About the Complex Problems That Arise in the Research Setting Ethical reasoning implies that professionals be able to critically analyze their own moral arguments and develop defensible points of view for new problems that are likely to emerge during the course of professional life. Studies of the reasoning development of individuals in a variety of professions (Rest and Narváez, 1994), including students in research training (Heitman et al., 2000), indicate that persons entering a profession are not equally able to apply moral ideals to the resolution of complex moral issues. In fact, some novices and even some experienced
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Integrity in Scientific Research: Creating an Environment that Promotes Responsible Conduct professionals are unable to reliably distinguish simplistic moral arguments that appeal to self-interest and the maintenance of interpersonal affiliations as guides for moral action (referred to as a “personal interest moral schema”) from arguments that appeal to societal laws and rules as a basis for deciding what should be done (a “maintaining norms moral schema”). In contrast, some professional students and research trainees are as able as persons with training in moral philosophy to work out what should be done in circumstances in which conflicts of interests exist. The mark of mature moral reasoning is the ability to figure out how to fairly modify existing rules or laws to accommodate the new moral problem that has emerged (referred to as “postconventional moral thinking”) (Rest et al., 1999). The effects of ethics instruction on a professional’s moral reasoning has been extensively studied (Rest and Narváez, 1994). In medicine, for example, Self and Baldwin (1994) have reviewed a wide range of studies that have used the Defining Issues Test (DIT) or other measures of moral judgment to assess reasoning development. They concluded that (1) a medical curriculum without an ethics curriculum tends not to enhance moral reasoning; (2) instruction can be effective, although not all interventions produce significant gains; (3) the effects of at least some interventions can be attributed to an intervention based on comparisons with control groups; (4) strategies other than discussion of a dilemma can produce change; and (5) there is a relationship between reasoning and a range of indicators of physician performance. Although other intervention strategies can produce a change in reasoning, the most consistent effects in professional education have been achieved with a teaching and assessment strategy that incorporates the dilemma discussion technique (for example, significant change for 14 of 15 cohorts of dental students [Bebeau, 2001]). Over a 10-year period (1983 to 1993), Bebeau and colleagues tested the strategy, incrementally adding instructional elements to improve students’ ability to develop well-reasoned written arguments for addressing solutions to problems that students commonly encounter. The greatest improvements were achieved when students were provided with criteria for judging the adequacy of arguments and multiple opportunities to develop well-written arguments both before and after case discussions and when they received feedback on the strengths and shortcomings of their arguments from peers as well as from the instructor (Bebeau, 1994). In a reexamination of intervention effects, Rest and colleagues (1997) found two different effects of an intervention. One was the acquisition of new thinking (increases in preferences for postconventional arguments— the effect that researchers have typically reported); the second effect was systematic rejection of simplistic thinking (decreases in preferences for
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Integrity in Scientific Research: Creating an Environment that Promotes Responsible Conduct personal-interest arguments). Rest and colleagues concluded: “From a practical educational point of view, both kinds of developmental progress are desirable: gaining more sophisticated moral thinking and also becoming clearer about what ideas should be totally rejected for their simplistic and biased solutions” (Rest et al., 1997, p. 500). As a consequence, researchers using DIT are encouraged to assess interventions in terms of moral judgment profiles (i.e., the proportion of arguments that appeal to each of the moral schemas) rather than just in terms of advances in postconventional thinking (Bebeau, 2001). In the early 1990s, researchers at the Poynter Center designed Moral Reasoning in Scientific Research: Cases for Teaching and Assessment (described below), a series of cases for teaching and assessment that incorporated the instructional techniques first tested in dentistry. When experienced researchers review these types of cases, as well as others included in available casebooks, they may judge the cases as too simplistic and be tempted to discard them in favor of discussions around contemporary issues that present highly challenging dilemmas. A danger in limiting teaching of responsible conduct to a discussion of contemporary cases is that students may learn the rules for specific situations but not be able to generalize to other issues of immediate relevance. Moreover, by focusing entirely on contemporary cases, students may not acquire the skills needed to identify the fallacies in their own arguments or to deal with many of the future unanticipated issues. Thus, the committee encourages faculty to develop a curriculum that provides opportunities to apply the more general moral reasoning ability that develops as a result of higher education to the specific problems that arise in the research setting (i.e., to develop “ethical reasoning”). On the basis of the original work of Kohlberg (1984) that was expanded by Rest, Bebeau, and colleagues (Bebeau, 1994; Bebeau et al., 1995; Rest et al., 1986), the committee defines ethical or moral reasoning as the ability to systematically examine a situation and then choose and defend a position on the issue (Bebeau et al., 1995). Arguments are evaluated in terms of the respondent’s ability to describe the following: ethical issues and points of conflict, including precedents, principles, rules, or values that support prioritizing one interest over another; the stakeholders or parties that have a vested interest in the outcome of the situation; the probable consequences of possible courses of actions; and the ethical obligations of the central characters. There is an important distinction between the focus in the development of cases designed to promote the sensitivity just discussed and those
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Integrity in Scientific Research: Creating an Environment that Promotes Responsible Conduct designed to promote ethical reasoning. Unlike cases for ethical sensitivity—in which finding and understanding the conflict (i.e., becoming sensitive to the conflict) is the focus—with ethical reasoning one is presenting a conflict that is relatively easily identified and interpreted. It has been shown that instruction in ethical reasoning is effective in increasing the ability of emerging professionals to engage in such tasks (Bebeau, 2001). Teaching Strategies To ensure that learners engage in reasoning about moral issues rather than in problem solving, a case description is followed by the question “Should the protagonist ___?” (e.g., take the data from the research setting or add an author to a manuscript) rather than “What should the protagonist do?” Learners are asked to take a tentative position either in favor or against the proposed action and to develop the best argument possible. To ensure that discussions are not just windy exchanges of opinion, the course facilitator is encouraged to have students explore the criteria for judging moral arguments before engaging in discussion and then use the criteria to critique each other’s verbal or written arguments. Assessment Methods Tools that can be used to assess competence in ethical reasoning are available. Two that are well validated and suitable for adults have already been mentioned: Moral Reasoning in Scientific Research: Cases for Teaching and Assessment (Bebeau et al., 1995) and the Defining Issues Test (DIT) (Rest, 1979; Rest et al., 1999). In the former, the case studies are designed to facilitate improvements in reasoning as well as to assess such improvements. Each case is accompanied by extensive notes and checklists to help the evaluator achieve reliable judgments. The latter (Rest, 1979; Rest et al., 1999) is a paper-and-pencil measure of moral judgment based on Kohlberg’s (1984) pioneering work on the development of lifespan moral judgment. DIT measures the reasoning strategies (moral schemas) that an individual uses when confronted with complex moral problems, as well as the consistency between reasoning and judgment. More extensive descriptions of these tools, including data on their validity, are included in Appendix B. Many other collections of case studies also exist that could be used directly or modified slightly to serve as cases for teaching and assessment of ethical reasoning (see the section Responsible Scientific Conduct in Appendix D).
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Integrity in Scientific Research: Creating an Environment that Promotes Responsible Conduct Moral Motivation and Identity Formation The third component in the Four-Component Model of Morality (Box 5-1) acknowledges that individuals have a number of legitimate concerns that may not be compatible with the moral choice. Financial and career pressures, established relationships, and idiosyncratic personal concerns, among many others, compete for the researcher’s attention. Blasi (1985) notes that people differ in how deeply moral notions penetrate their self-understanding and in the kinds of moral considerations that are judged to be constitutive of the self. In other words, moral motivation varies. This requires the attention of educators. Understanding that one is responsible provides the bridge between knowing the right thing to do and doing it. Blasi (1985) and Kegan (1982) see identity formation as a lifelong developmental process. Recent work on identity formation based on Kegan’s developmental theory (Forsythe et al., in press) suggests that at least 30 percent of graduates from West Point have not achieved key transitions in identity formation that would enable them to have the broad, internalized understanding of and commitment to codes in the responsible conduct of research and other professional standards. Whereas such individuals may see codes and professional standards as guides for behavior, they are likely to conform to the guides simply to garner rewards and avoid negative consequences, without achieving an understanding of their personal responsibility. Forsythe and colleagues concluded that “[professional] development programs will not be successful in instilling desired values in less mature [preprofessionals] unless the broad educational environment in which they operate promotes identity development toward a shared perspective on professionalism” (Forsythe et al., in press). Evidence from studies of role concept development in dentistry (Bebeau, 1994) support these observations. Recent work on integrity in research is directing attention to the need for more formal efforts to socialize trainees and beginning researchers to professional expectations and values. For example, Braxton and Baird highlight the need to socialize researchers to the role of self-regulation, arguing that “doctoral study can be configured so that future scientists are prepared to participate in the deterrence, detection, and sanctioning of scientific wrongdoing” (Braxton and Baird, 2001, p. 593). The responsibility for self-regulation would be addressed as part of identity formation, whereas the actual skills would be taught as part of survival skill education (see below). The need for such socialization is further confirmed by Anderson’s (2001) study of doctoral students’ conceptions of science and its norms. She concludes: “The theme of individual, independent work that runs through these interviews suggests that students might not be subject to as much osmotic group socialization as many faculty assume. It
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Integrity in Scientific Research: Creating an Environment that Promotes Responsible Conduct Need for an Integrated Approach Learning relies on the interconnection of four learning environments: the learner-centered, knowledge-centered, assessment-centered, and community-centered environments (Bransford et al., 1999; The Cognition and Technology Group at Vanderbilt, 2000). Learner-centered environments build on what the students bring to the classroom, their strengths, and their prior learning. Knowledge-centered environments help students construct new knowledge by providing organized disciplinary knowledge and the skills needed to use that knowledge. In assessment-centered environments, both students and teachers set goals, ask for feedback, and make revisions as needed. Community-centered environments establish the normative behaviors for individuals in the learning institutions and other aspects of their professional lives, as well as in the other communities of which they are a part. Each of these learning environments influences the others (The Cognition and Technology Group at Vanderbilt, 2000; Mentkowski, 2000). Thus, an effective program of education in the responsible conduct of research requires a broad, multicomponent approach. The following section describes the key elements of this approach. Incorporating Current Practices in an Effective Curriculum The background section of this chapter outlined the committee’s rationale for recommending that education in the responsible conduct of research be taught in the context of the overall educational program. Formal education in the responsible conduct of research can be provided in a wide variety of ways. Some of the most common approaches are discussed here. Adviser-Trainee Interactions The research adviser typically plays a central role in discussions of many aspects of responsible conduct of research. Indeed, until recently, this was the major, if not the only, mechanism through which most trainees received such education. These discussions often include one-on-one meetings, research group meetings, and journal clubs that are led by the adviser. Interactions between a trainee and his or her adviser typically occur over a long period and can be individualized to the type of research being done, the regulations and guidelines that pertain to that research, and the specific needs of the trainee. Moreover, when the individuals who are principally responsible for instruction in research also play a key role in teaching about the responsible conduct of research, they indicate—by
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Integrity in Scientific Research: Creating an Environment that Promotes Responsible Conduct deed as well as by word, it is hoped—that they consider scientific integrity to be essential to doing good science. Adviser-based instruction in the responsible conduct of research might involve two or more hours per month and thus could occupy well over 100 hours while a trainee is part of a research group. Thus, this single component could (and probably should) constitute the largest amount of time devoted to education in the responsible conduct of research for a given trainee. As central and extensive as adviser-based education is, however, the committee does not consider this approach to be sufficient. First, if the instruction is limited to one-on-one instruction, the value of peer interactions may not be present. Second, some critical issues may not come up within a research group setting because they apply to considerations outside of the area of research, such as classroom teaching. Third, the research adviser may have little experience in mentoring or limited understanding of ways to promote integrity in research. Short Courses The short seminar seems to be the most common approach to formal education in the responsible conduct of research. Typically, a faculty member in philosophy or science will organize four to six sessions lasting 90 to 120 minutes each. The syllabus deals with what are deemed to be the essential issues for a given group of students (e.g., plagiarism, authorship, and ownership of data). The sessions often include some didactic material, such as an explanation of current conventions and a discussion of a case. The cases may be presented as written vignettes, films, or plays that are acted out by the participants. The same individual may give all lectures, or guest speakers may present the lectures. If the group is large (more than 15 to 25 participants), the discussions usually occur in smaller breakout groups. There may or may not be outside reading, and if grades are given, they are most often given on the basis of a paper that the participants write. Such programs can provide a valuable component of education in the responsible conduct of research, provided the developers design them for purposes that relate to a comprehensive program. For example, a short course could be used to introduce new graduate students to the norms and values of the scientific enterprise. Alternatively, a course could be devoted to a particular topic, such as preparing an informed-consent protocol for a study of human subjects to be submitted to an institutional review board. Although short course are, by necessity, limited in scope, they may be able to address key issues in the responsible conduct of research in a multidisciplinary setting.
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Integrity in Scientific Research: Creating an Environment that Promotes Responsible Conduct Full-Semester Courses The model for a full-semester course is fundamentally the same as that outlined above for a short seminar. There may be an introductory unit on ethical theory, and the number of topics is significantly expanded. There also may be more reading and written assignments, as well as some quizzes or examinations. Typically, a variety of lecturers and discussion leaders teach the course. Such a course will involve one to three hours of instruction each week over 12 to 15 weeks—for a total of 12 to 45 hours. The full-semester course is a step in the right direction, although many members of the committee believe that even this is too limited a time for the task of providing education in this important area. Some committee members prefer short seminars, given over multiple years, that can be tailored to the curriculum and the maturation of the student. Single Workshops Some programs elect to have a single workshop that lasts several hours and that focuses on a set of related topics (e.g., publication of research results). Students may be asked to attend several such sessions during the course of their education. Sometimes, given the extended length of a given session, lectures and breakout groups are combined with panels to provide a greater diversity of input. In contrast to the short seminars and full-semester courses, which may each involve 5 to 30 participants, workshops are often open to a relatively large number of students in a given educational program and sometimes draw several hundred participants. As with short seminars, however, the typically large numbers of individuals who participate in workshops often limit the amount of active learning or instruction that takes into consideration the knowledge base of individual students. Computer-Based Instruction As institutions work to provide education in the responsible conduct of research to ever-larger numbers of individuals, there seems to be an emerging use of computer-based educational programs, either via a centralized website or via diskettes or compact discs that are made available to individuals. These programs seem to focus most, if not all, of their attention on regulations and guidelines, and they often include an assessment of knowledge of that material. The programs may involve several different units, each of which takes one to three hours to complete, often at a single sitting. Such programs often provide the least costly way to provide instruction to a large number of individuals. They also may be an effective way
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Integrity in Scientific Research: Creating an Environment that Promotes Responsible Conduct to deal with certain kinds of education; for example, for providing familiarity with professional regulations and norms. On the other hand, they typically are brief, involve little or no individualized instruction, and do not provide researchers-instructors as visible role models. Furthermore, although there may be some semblance of “active learning,” it is typically of a very primitive form. Integration of Relevant Ethical Issues within the Core Curriculum The committee believes that education in the responsible conduct of research should be provided within the core curriculum of a discipline, with ethics cases strategically selected to promote development of each of the abilities that will enable responsible conduct. There are two reasons for this. First, if responsible conduct is an integral part of conducting research, as argued above, then it should be infused through the educational program for new researchers. Second, many topics do not fit logically into a more general context of the responsible conduct of research but nevertheless deserve attention. Depending on the discipline, such topics might include informed consent (for the use of human subjects in research), the use of animals in research, data management, storage and retrieval of data, and ethical issues related to developing technologies (e.g., human cloning, gene therapy, and reproductive technologies). Issues related to the responsible conduct of research can be integrated into a core course in two complementary ways. First, individuals teaching the courses can include comments on the ethical dimensions of a subject as part of the lectures. Thus, a faculty member discussing genetic markers for disease might comment on the ethics of genetic testing, whereas a faculty member teaching a course in anthropology might mention the possible adverse impact of fieldwork on the lives of indigenous people. This can occur without any special fanfare but as a natural component of the discussion of a given topic. Second, time can be set aside to discuss an ethics case of particular relevance to the focus of the course. This discussion might be included as part of the series of breakout groups that are often organized for core courses to focus on a particular research article. Faculty teaching in one or the other formats can provide opportunities to learn to lead a discussion that promotes ethical reasoning or to lead a group activity that promotes ethical implementation (several texts with case studies are listed in Appendix D in the section Responsible Scientific Conduct). Although the committee wholeheartedly supports the concept of integrating education in the responsible conduct of research into the core curriculum, the committee also recognizes that accomplishing this is no simple matter. One or two faculty members can mount their own educa-
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Integrity in Scientific Research: Creating an Environment that Promotes Responsible Conduct tional program in the responsible conduct of research. But influencing the courses that other faculty members teach demands practical and time-consuming diplomacy. Moreover, it is an initiative that requires continual maintenance. There is often constant pressure on a course director to find time for new topics. In addition, the faculty and directors for a given course may change frequently. In both instances, issues of the responsible conduct of research can quickly disappear from the curriculum. Florida State University, for example, offers an interdisciplinary science course (for graduate or undergraduate credit) that integrates the responsible conduct of research in science into each of its sections (Gilmer, 1995, 1998; Gilmer and Rashotte, Dec. 1989/Jan. 1990). The course uses historical examples, including the development of the atomic bomb, the Tuskegee syphilis trials, and scientific freedom and responsibility, to highlight the importance of science and the profound influence that science has on society. Current examples of integrity in science are seen within such a historical context. Assessment is a critical aspect of such a course, and writing is highlighted, with students reviewing and critiquing each other’s ideas on a course website. Students use electronic portfolios to document their learning in the course (Gilmer, 1995, 2002). Students are given the option of selecting for one of their collaborative group projects a service activity that fits into the goals of the course. This way of bringing the consideration of integrity in science into the curriculum incorporates the four learning environments: the knowledge-centered, student-centered, assessment-centered, and community-centered environments (Bransford et al., 1999; The Cognition and Technology Group at Vanderbilt, 2000). Ethics in the Context of Education in Professional Survival Skills Earlier in this chapter, instruction in survival skills was described as one of the keys to the development of an environment that promotes integrity in research. The committee made this choice for three major reasons. First, virtually every aspect of any curriculum has an ethical dimension, and, as already noted, the committee believes that these issues are best identified and addressed in context. Professional skills, like more traditional aspects of a curriculum, have ethical dimensions. For example, when one is teaching about writing research articles, discussions might include issues of plagiarism, honorary authorship, data selection, and graphic design, while a workshop on grantsmanship might include a discussion of the importance of not overstating the sensitivities of methods or the quality of pilot data, exaggerating the assistance that one obtains from colleagues, or promising more than can be accomplished. As in the case of education in the responsible conduct of research within the
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Integrity in Scientific Research: Creating an Environment that Promotes Responsible Conduct core curriculum, the teaching of responsible conduct within a program of professional development can and should be done in two ways: through the inclusion of material in the lectures and through the active discussion of ethics cases. Second, many of the ethical issues discussed in survival skills workshops are simply not likely to arise as topics either in the core curriculum or in traditional courses on the responsible conduct of research. Examples of such issues include the responsibility to publish worthwhile data in reports so that others may benefit from the work (particularly if the work was supported with public funds); the importance of acknowledging the contributions of others in oral presentations as well as in written work; and the responsibility to ensure that other researchers can replicate published results, by providing a complete and accurate presentation of methods and by being willing to share all reagents not commercially available. The third reason stems from the fact that institutional climate appears to be an important determinant of responsible conduct in science (see Chapter 3). This may reflect, in part, the fact that most people are likely to learn less from what a faculty member or an institution offers as formal instruction than from the actual behavior that is observed. Offering instruction in survival skills is a clear indication that the faculty and the institution accept some responsibility for the professional advancement of their students. However, programs in professional skills should not replace or reduce the efforts of individual advisers to provide individual mentoring. Other Venues This brief discussion has not exhausted the ways in which instruction on the responsible conduct of research can be made an integral part of conducting scientific research. For example, authors should include issues related to integrity in science (including cases) in the textbooks of scientific disciplines (e.g., see Kovac, 1995; Tobin and Dusheck, 2001; and Zigmond et al., 1999) education directors should make ethical issues a component of annual retreats. Responsible conduct of research also should be a subject for online forums in areas of research (e.g., Fischer and Zigmond, 2001a; Zigmond and Fischer, 1995), and discussions of issues related to the responsible conduct of research should appear as part of the programs of professional meetings (for example, they are standard features of the meetings of the Society for Neuroscience and the American Association for the Advancement of Science). The objective is straightforward: to ensure that teaching of the responsible conduct of research exists side by side with discussions of all other aspects of science.
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Integrity in Scientific Research: Creating an Environment that Promotes Responsible Conduct SUMMARY In preparing science apprentices for success, curricula should address the broad range of skills that they will need as professionals. For example, they should be taught how to communicate their research data as well as how to collect them, how to teach as well as how to learn, and how to develop a career as well as how to develop a thesis. Moreover, the responsible conduct of research should be viewed as an integral part of good science and thus an integral part of education programs. It follows, therefore, that the objectives and the methods for the teaching of the responsible conduct of research should be nothing less than those used for the teaching of other skills and abilities valued within a discipline. Thus, the model for providing instruction in the responsible conduct of research is taken from traditional programs for teaching students what is necessary for their performance as researchers: (1) start as soon as the students arrive; (2) make the instruction in the responsible conduct of research part of everything they do, placing the education in the context of the research instead of making it a separate entity; (3) move from the simple to the complex; and (4) assess student competency. In this way, there is no mistaking the message: communicating well, obtaining employment and research grants, excelling in teaching, advising, and mentoring, engaging in ethical decision making, and behaving responsibly are at the core of being a researcher. The committee finds that programs of education in the responsible conduct of research should aim to have an effect and should not be in place merely to be able to check an item off a list. They also should be based on current understanding of the psychological processes that give rise to morality and on current understanding of how adults learn. Research advisers play a central role in the education of their trainees in the responsible conduct of research, not only by what they teach, but also by their own conduct. To facilitate this process, programs of adviser education and evaluation in this area are needed. Adviser-based education of trainees should be supplemented by a program of education in the responsible conduct of research that is integrated into the overall educational program to include (1) a core course, (2) other specific educational program elements (e.g., journal clubs and retreats), and (3) individual research group meetings (e.g., laboratory meetings). Education in the responsible conduct of research should be built around the development of abilities that give rise to responsible conduct. Finally, education in the responsible conduct of research should involve research practitioners and individuals with expertise in ethics. Although the field of assessment of the responsible conduct of research is still in a developmental stage, efforts to promote integrity in
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Representative terms from entire chapter: