requires that graduate and postdoctoral students who are supported by NIH training grants receive instruction in the responsible conduct of research. The Office of Research Integrity at the Department of Health and Human Services supports programs undertaken by the Council of Graduate Schools, the National Postdoctoral Association, and the Laboratory Management Institute at the University of California at Davis to develop education and training programs in the responsible conduct of research.24 Many research institutions also require such training of students or beginning researchers, often in the form of seminars, workshops, or Web-based modules. (Box 2-4 describes one such program.)

A 2002 Institute of Medicine report examined how institutions can create environments that foster research integrity.25 The report points out that although education and training can be helpful, not much is currently known about which approaches are most effective. Institutional self-assessment and external peer review can be valuable tools in developing and improving education and training. Smaller institutions may need to take advantage of consortia or electronic communications to provide their researchers with adequate education and training.

The leaders of research groups have a particular responsibility to see that professional standards are observed in the conduct of research. They should ensure that the members of their groups have opportunities to learn about the proper management of data. Research leaders also have an obligation to set a standard for responsible behavior and to monitor and guide the actions of the members of their groups. Implementing institutional policies at the group level, holding regular meetings to discuss data issues, and providing careful supervision all help to create a research environment in which the integrity of data is understood, valued, and ensured.26

As described earlier, the need for training in the standards of research has been made more urgent by the advance of the digital age. The application of digital technologies in research has fundamentally altered the daily practices and interpersonal interactions of everyone involved in the research enterprise. Researchers need to become familiar with complex and rapidly changing systems to review, visualize, store, summarize, and search for information. They need to understand the technologies and methods they apply to the collection, analysis, storage, and dissemination of data in sufficient detail to have confidence in the integrity of those data. Unless they understand the procedures used to generate, process, represent, and document data, they risk wasting


Office of Research Integrity. 2008. Annual Report 2007. Washington, DC: Department of Health and Human Services.


Institute of Medicine. 2002. Integrity in Scientific Research: Creating an Environment That Promotes Responsible Conduct. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.


Chris B. Pascal. 2006. “Managing data for integrity: Policies and procedures for ensuring the accuracy and quality of the data in the laboratory.” Science and Engineering Ethics 2:23–39.

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