environment. A third challenge is to ensure fairness and balance in efforts to establish individual and institutional accountability in publicly supported research activities, so that frivolous or malicious charges as well as counterproductive regulations are avoided.
The Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy (COSEPUP) of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine sought to address these issues by convening the 22-member Panel on Scientific Responsibility and the Conduct of Research. The panel was asked to examine the following issues:
What is the state of current knowledge about modern research practices for a range of disciplines, including trends and practices that could affect the integrity of research?
What are the advantages and disadvantages of enhanced educational efforts and explicit guidelines for researchers and research institutions? Can the research community itself define and strengthen basic standards for scientists and their institutions?
What roles are appropriate for public and private institutions in promoting responsible research practices? What can be learned from institutional experiences with current procedures for handling allegations of misconduct in science?
In addition to outlining approaches to encourage the responsible conduct of scientific research, the panel was also asked to determine whether existing unwritten practices should be expressed as principles to guide the responsible conduct of research. If the panel members judged it advisable, they were encouraged to prepare model guidelines and other materials.
In responding to its charge, the panel chose a two-part approach intended to produce a report that would speak to all members of the U.S. scientific research community. First, the panel examined factors fundamental to the integrity of the research process, including scientific principles and research practices; changes within the contemporary research environment; and the roles of individuals, educational programs, and research guidelines in fostering responsible research