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RESPONSIBLE SCIENCE: Ensuring the Integrity of the Research Process
informally to encourage responsible research practices.6 In addition, most universities have (1) general codes of academic conduct or honor codes that apply broadly to faculty, administrators, staff, and students7 and that provide for disciplinary action by the institution in the event of serious violations and (2) written policies dealing with specific issues in the research environment, such as conflict of interest, intellectual property rights, use of humans and animals in experimentation, and computer use.8 Most academic institutions that conduct significant amounts of research have also adopted policies and procedures for handling allegations of misconduct in science.9
The normative rules and monitoring requirements scattered throughout university policies and documents relating to science and engineering research are an important first step for promoting the responsible conduct of research. In defining what is illegal, unethical, and irresponsible, these rules suggest what is legal, ethical, and responsible. For example, the University of Maryland policy on misconduct defines “improprieties of authorship” as “improper assignment of credit, such as excluding others; misrepresentation of the same material as original in more than one publication; inclusion of individuals as authors who have not made a definite contribution to the work published; or submission of multi-authored publications without the concurrence of all authors” (University of Maryland at Baltimore, 1989, p. 2). This statement could be interpreted as a guideline for responsible behavior in research, since it encourages the proper assignment of credit for research performance and urges authors to include the names of co-authors only with their permission.
Therefore, although most research institutions do not have comprehensive codes of conduct for science and engineering research, they do provide ethical and policy guidance to researchers. If these policies are considered along with the various federal regulations, statements of professional societies about professional conduct in research, and other literature prepared by professional and scientific societies (such as the National Academy of Sciences' essay On Being aScientist and Sigma Xi's essay Honor in Science), the total package provides a strong foundation for describing what is responsible and irresponsible in the conduct of research.
However, the currently existing set of normative rules designed to foster responsibility in science has limitations. Research policies are often disjointed and piecemeal, they may be administered by different academic units, and they may vary substantially among institutions. It is difficult for researchers to comprehend and consider all the legal and professional responsibilities raised by modern science and engineering. Yet integrating rules and resolving contradictions