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RESPONSIBLE SCIENCE: Ensuring the Integrity of the Research Process
years, the absence of formal statements by research institutions of the principles that should guide research conducted by their members has prompted criticism that scientists and their institutions lack a clearly identifiable means to ensure the integrity of the research process.
FACTORS AFFECTING THE DEVELOPMENT OF RESEARCH PRACTICES
In all of science, but with unequal emphasis in the several disciplines, inquiry proceeds based on observation and experimentation, the exercising of informed judgment, and the development of theory. Research practices are influenced by a variety of factors, including:
The general norms of science;
The nature of particular scientific disciplines and the traditions of organizing a specific body of scientific knowledge;
The example of individual scientists, particularly those who hold positions of authority or respect based on scientific achievements;
The policies and procedures of research institutions and funding agencies; and
Socially determined expectations.
The first three factors have been important in the evolution of modern science. The latter two have acquired more importance in recent times.
Norms of Science
As members of a professional group, scientists share a set of common values, aspirations, training, and work experiences.6 Scientists are distinguished from other groups by their beliefs about the kinds of relationships that should exist among them, about the obligations incurred by members of their profession, and about their role in society. A set of general norms are imbedded in the methods and the disciplines of science that guide individual, scientists in the organization and performance of their research efforts and that also provide a basis for nonscientists to understand and evaluate the performance of scientists.
But there is uncertainty about the extent to which individual scientists adhere to such norms. Most social scientists conclude that all behavior is influenced to some degree by norms that reflect socially or morally supported patterns of preference when alternative courses of action are possible. However, perfect conformity with any rele-