ries are not equivalent, and they require different types of responses by the research community and research institutions. However, the relationship between these two categories is not well understood. It may be difficult to tell, initially, whether alleged misconduct constitutes misconduct in science or a questionable research practice. In some cases, for example, scientists accused of plagiarism have testified about an absence of appropriate training methods for properly citing the work of others. The selective use of research data is another area where the boundary between fabrication and creative insight may not be obvious.
The panel emphasizes that scientists, individually and collectively, need to take questionable research practices seriously because when tolerated, such practices can encourage an environment that fosters misconduct in science. But questionable practices are not equivalent to misconduct in science, and they are not appropriate subjects for investigations directed to misconduct.
Certain forms of unacceptable behavior are clearly not unique to the conduct of science, although they may occur in a laboratory or research environment. Such behaviors, which are subject to generally applicable legal and social penalties, include actions such as sexual and other forms of harassment of individuals; misuse of funds; gross negligence by persons in their professional activities; vandalism, including tampering with research experiments or instrumentation; 20 and violations of government research regulations, such as those dealing with radioactive materials, recombinant DNA research, and the use of human or animal subjects. Industry-university relationships, and the resultant possibility of conflicts of interest, also raise issues that require special attention.
In these cases, recognized legal and institutional procedures should be in place to address complaints and to discourage behavior involving forms of misconduct that are not unique to the research process. Allegations of harassment, for example, should be handled by officials designated to implement personnel or equal opportunity regulations. Allegations of misuse of research funds should be addressed by those responsible for the financial integrity of the research institutions involved. The panel concluded that such behaviors require serious attention but lie outside the scope of the charge for this study.
On some occasions, however, certain forms of “other misconduct” are directly associated with misconduct in science. Among these are cover-ups of misconduct in science, reprisals against whistle-blow-