. science accommodates, indeed welcomes, new discoveries: its theories change and its activities broaden as new facts come to light or new potentials are recognized. Examples of events changing scientific thought are legion. Truly scientific understanding cannot be attained or even pursued effectively when explanations not derived from or tested by the scientific method are accepted.

SOURCE: National Academy of Sciences and National Research Council(1984), pp. 8-11.

A well-established discipline can also experience profound changes during periods of new conceptual insights. In these moments, when scientists must cope with shifting concepts, the matter of what counts as scientific evidence can be subject to dispute. Historian Jan Sapp has described the complex interplay between theory and observation that characterizes the operation of scientific judgment in the selection of research data during revolutionary periods of paradigmatic shift (Sapp, 1990, p. 113):

What “liberties” scientists are allowed in selecting positive data and omitting conflicting or “messy” data from their reports is not defined by any timeless method. It is a matter of negotiation. It is learned, acquired socially; scientists make judgments about what fellow scientists might expect in order to be convincing. What counts as good evidence may be more or less well-defined after a new discipline or specialty is formed; however, at revolutionary stages in science, when new theories and techniques are being put forward, when standards have yet to be negotiated, scientists are less certain as to what others may require of them to be deemed competent and convincing.

Explicit statements of the values and traditions that guide research practice have evolved through the disciplines and have been given in textbooks on scientific methodologies.4 In the past few decades, many scientific and engineering societies representing individual disciplines have also adopted codes of ethics (see Volume II of this report for examples),5 and more recently, a few research institutions have developed guidelines for the conduct of research (see Chapter 6).

But the responsibilities of the research community and research institutions in assuring individual compliance with scientific principles, traditions, and codes of ethics are not well defined. In recent



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