and those who must adjudicate penalties based on charges of misconduct in science.
The panel believes that institutional procedures should define explicit, and clear criteria that are to be used in determining when a misconduct inquiry should proceed to a more formal investigation. The panel concludes that administrative officials and faculty have a responsibility to inform all members of their institution, especially junior personnel, of existing channels for handling complaints about misconduct in science or other misconduct.
The panel is aware of the inherent difficulty posed by asking research institutions to investigate allegations of misconduct in science that involve their own members. Internal investigations must demonstrate a fundamental commitment to independence and objectivity to ensure their credibility and success, and may be enhanced by the participation of members from outside the affected organization. The objectivity of misconduct-in-science investigations also relies heavily on the credibility of the process used to arrive at findings and recommendations. To maintain the privilege of self-regulation, research institutions must exercise vigilance and diligence in examining the conduct of their own members.
In the wake of procedural and policy reforms in response to incidents of misconduct in science, representatives from the academic and scientific community have raised concerns about the long-term or unintended effects that might result from institutional or governmental intrusions into the research environment.7 Aggressive efforts to control research practices, if carried to an extreme, can damage the research enterprise. Balance is required. Inflexible rules or requirements can increase the time and effort necessary to conduct research, can discourage creative individuals from pursuing research careers, can decrease innovation, and can in some instances make the research process impossible. Governmental or regulatory efforts to define “correct” research conduct or analytical practices can do fundamental harm to research activities if such efforts encourage orthodoxy and rigidity and inhibit novel or creative research practices.
However, the panel concludes that allegations and incidents of misconduct in science require a vigorous institutional response and