duct in science and the subsequent enactment of governmental regulations, most major research institutions have now adopted policies and procedures for handling allegations of misconduct in science.
Institutional policies governing research practices can have a powerful effect on research practices if they are commensurate with the norms that apply to a wide spectrum of research investigators. In particular, the process of adopting and implementing strong institutional policies can sensitize the members of those institutions to the potential for ethical problems in their work. Institutional policies can establish explicit standards that institutional officers then have the power to enforce with sanctions and penalties.
Institutional policies are limited, however, in their ability to specify the details of every problematic situation, and they can weaken or displace individual professional judgment in such situations. Currently, academic institutions have very few formal policies and programs in specific areas such as authorship, communication and publication, and training and supervision.
Government agencies have developed specific rules and procedures that directly affect research practices in areas such as laboratory safety, the treatment of human and animal research subjects, and the use of toxic or potentially hazardous substances in research.
But policies and procedures adopted by some government research agencies to address misconduct in science (see Chapter 5) represent a significant new regulatory development in the relationships between research institutions and government sponsors. The standards and criteria used to monitor institutional compliance with an increasing number of government regulations and policies affecting research practices have been a source of significant disagreement and tension within the research community.
In recent years, some government research agencies have also adopted policies and procedures for the treatment of research data and materials in their extramural research programs. For example, the National Science Foundation (NSF) has implemented a data-sharing policy through program management actions, including proposal review and award negotiations and conditions. The NSF policy acknowledges that grantee institutions will “keep principal rights to intellectual property conceived under NSF sponsorship” to encourage appropriate commercialization of the results of research (NSF, 1989b, p. 1). However, the NSF policy emphasizes “that retention of such rights does not reduce the responsibility of researchers and in-