that the methods used by research institutions and government to address allegations of misconduct in science need improvement. Research institutions sometimes require advice or assistance in addressing allegations of misconduct in science because of the complexities of these cases or because their faculty or administrators are reluctant to address in a systematic manner complaints or suspicions about possible misconduct in science. Research institutions have not developed mechanisms for broad exchange of information and experience in resolving difficult cases and consequently lack opportunities for learning from each other.
In considering different approaches to dealing with questionable research, practices, the panel concluded that questionable practices are best discouraged through peer review and the system of appointments, evaluations, and other rewards in the research environment as well as educational programs that emphasize responsible behavior in the research environment. Such approaches build on the strengths of self-regulation, rely on those who are most knowledgeable about the intricacies of the scientific process to maintain the quality of the research environment, and preserve the diverse disciplinary traditions that are essential to responsible scientific conduct. By encouraging the development of educational programs that emphasize responsible research behavior, the panel seeks to foster more deliberate and informed communication, discussion, criticism, and reflection of the basic values that guide scientific practices and judgments.
In considering the advantages and disadvantages of guidelines for research conduct, the panel concluded that although the process of formulating guidelines may be extremely valuable for those who participate, guidelines that are relevant and appropriate to research may vary considerably depending on the research field, the nature of the work, and other factors. To be effective, guidelines must be incorporated into the process of research and education and become an operational part of day-to-day activities. If faculty desire to develop guidelines for the conduct of research, such policies should be formulated by those who will be directly affected and should be adapted to specific research fields and protocols.
Institutional guidelines are likely to be less effective than ones formulated at the group or laboratory level. However, research institutions may wish to adopt an overarching set of general principles for their members to provide a common frame of reference. The panel recognizes that the formulation of written guidelines is an exacting task that requires substantial time and effort.