ulty, in turn, are governed by a broad set of administrative and regulatory policies that affect the scientific research environment, increasingly so today. These policies reflect broad social concerns (e.g., about sexual harassment and equal opportunity) as well as matters explicitly related to the conduct of research (e.g., protection of human and animal subjects, regulation of toxic materials, and handling of hazardous equipment). In addition, many academic research institutions have now adopted policies regarding conflict of interest and the intellectual property developed by their employees.
Research in disciplinary specialties has traditionally been organized in a specific academic department. But research in many fields is now characterized by interdisciplinary approaches and is frequently carried out by individual academic investigators who, though they may have a departmental affiliation, are attached to independent, research centers. Centers may be organized around common research interests (e.g., poverty, energy, the environment) or research styles and resource needs (e.g., surveys, computer modeling, synchrotron light sources). Center directors often assume responsibility for generating support, including ongoing support for facilities and core staff.
Research goals are increasingly linked, by sponsors and investigators, to specific social needs. Indeed, economic development has received explicit emphasis in recent years in some federal and most state-supported research. Research projects aimed at environmental, health, and other particular social problems have, since the 1960s, increasingly been carried out by interdisciplinary academic groups and research centers. Industry has often participated in and sponsored such activities and has provided a diversified source of funding. Research investigators in such organizations include tenured and junior faculty members, visiting scientists, nonfaculty research scientists, postdoctoral research fellows, graduate students, and technicians.
As a result of these trends, scientific research organizations today need an unaccustomed level of structure and efficient management to perform effectively. Many large research groups do not have organizational procedures to support the necessary level of management and oversight. Such circumstances can inhibit the effective resolution of disputes and even incidents of misconduct.
Issues related to authorship, allocation of credit, and data management practices often arise in large research groups. Teams of 100 Ph.D.s are common where research is dependent on major instruments. As instrumentation becomes more specialized, the team size, too, will grow, to 600 or more Ph.D.s in some instances. Some research team efforts are tightly coordinated, whereas other “big sci-