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RESPONSIBLE SCIENCE: Ensuring the Integrity of the Research Process
ence” projects have a highly decentralized research culture. For example, the War on Cancer and the Human Genome Project have been described as combinations of “little science” initiatives. However, they typically follow a structured plan to achieve selected research objectives.
Research groups are governed by various management practices. Some groups operate in a collaborative style, choosing research problems through consultation among senior and junior investigators about the appropriate course to follow in pursuing interesting observations. Other groups adopt a more hierarchical style, whereby the principal investigator establishes a course of action for the research team as a whole and encourages efforts that contribute to the central mission of the director. In a few laboratories, research directors may discourage collegial discussion of new results or interpretation of findings or may foster competitive practices by assigning junior researchers to identical research problems.
Regulation and Accountability
Scientific research is increasingly subject to government regulations and guidelines that impose financial and administrative requirements and affect specific elements of the research process as well. Among the subjects of current research regulations are the assurance of a drug-free workplace, laboratory safety, proper use of human subjects and care of animal subjects, and care in the use of recombinant DNA and in the use of toxic and radioactive materials (OTA, 1986a). Regulatory requirements of the Public Health Service, the National Science Foundation, and the Department of Veterans' Affairs have also prompted, and in some cases required, research institutions to adopt policies and formal procedures to handle allegations of misconduct in science.
To assure the full compliance of investigators and institutions with these regulatory requirements, universities have expanded administrative and oversight functions. The associated costs in time and money have escalated tensions between administrators and faculties that would prefer to see the funds going into research. This is one of several issues that has caused schisms in the academic community.
The criteria used to appoint, evaluate, and promote individual faculty members deeply influence the research enterprise. The rewards of a successful academic career traditionally include the per-