because they do not fit within the rationale for misconduct in science as defined by the panel in Chapter 1.
The investigation of questionable research practices as incidents of alleged misconduct in science, in the absence of consensus about the nature, acceptability, and damage that questionable practices cause, can do serious harm to individuals and to the research, enterprise. Institutional or regulatory efforts to determine “correct” research methods or analytical practices, without sustained participation by the research community, could encourage orthodoxy and rigidity in research practice and cause scientists to avoid novel or unconventional research paradigms. 10
Government regulations currently require local institutions to notify the sponsoring agency if they intend to initiate an investigation of an allegation of misconduct in science. The institutions are also required to submit a report of the investigation when it is completed. These reports, in the aggregate, may provide a future source of evidence regarding the frequency with which misconduct-in-science cases are handled by local institutions.
Although some investigatory reports have been released on an ad hoc basis, research scientists generally do not have access to comprehensive summaries of the investigatory reports prepared or reviewed by government agencies. The absence of such summaries impedes informed analysis of misconduct in science and inhibits the exchange of information and experience among institutions about factors that can contribute to or prevent misconduct in science.
The perspectives and experiences of institutional officials in handling allegations of misconduct in science are likely in the future to be important sources of information about the incidence of misconduct. This body of experience is largely undocumented, and most institutions do not maintain accessible records on their misconduct cases because of concerns about individual privacy and confidentiality, as well as concerns about possible institutional embarrassment, loss of prestige, and lawsuits.
The DHHS's regulations now require grantee institutions to provide annual reports of aggregate information on allegations, inquir-