many fields, a lack of technological infrastructure, cultural norms and expectations, and other factors act as barriers to openness and transparency.

The integrity of data in a time of revolutionary changes in research practice is too important to be taken for granted. Consequently, this report affirms the following general principle for ensuring the integrity of research data:

Data Integrity Principle: Ensuring the integrity of research data is essential for advancing scientific, engineering, and medical knowledge and for maintaining public trust in the research enterprise. Although other stakeholders in the research enterprise have important roles to play, researchers themselves are ultimately responsible for ensuring the integrity of research data.

This straightforward principle leads to several specific recommendations.

Recommendation 1: Researchers should design and manage their projects so as to ensure the integrity of research data, adhering to the professional standards that distinguish scientific, engineering, and medical research both as a whole and as their particular fields of specialization.

Some professional standards apply throughout research, such as the injunction never to falsify or fabricate data or plagiarize research results. These are fundamental to research, and have been confirmed by leading organizations and codified in regulations.3 Other standards are relevant only within specific fields—such as requirements to conduct double-blind clinical trials. Researchers must adhere to both sets of standards if they are to maintain the integrity of research data, and they can adhere to professional standards only if they fully understand the standards.

Recommendation 2: Research institutions should ensure that every researcher receives appropriate training in the responsible conduct of research, including the proper management of research data in general and within the researcher’s field of specialization. Some research sponsors provide support for this training and for the development of training programs.

Researchers, research institutions, research sponsors, professional societies, and journals all are responsible for creating and sustaining an environment that supports the efforts of researchers to ensure the integrity of research data. In some cases, digital technologies are having such a dramatic effect on research practices that some professional standards affecting the integrity of


National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, and Institute of Medicine. 1992. Responsible Science: Ensuring the Integrity of the Research Process. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.

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