1. The ratio of trainees to preceptors should be small enough that close interaction is possible for scientific interchange as well as oversight of the research at all stages.

  2. The preceptor should supervise the design of experiments and the processes of acquiring, recording, examining, interpreting, and storing data. (A preceptor who limits his/her role to the editing of manuscripts does not provide adequate supervision.)

  3. Collegial discussions among all preceptors and trainees constituting a research unit should be held regularly both to contribute to the scientific efforts of the members of the group and to provide informal peer review.

  4. The preceptor should provide each new investigator (whether student, postdoctoral fellow, or junior faculty) with applicable governmental and institutional requirements for conduct of studies involving healthy volunteers or patients, animals, radioactive or other hazardous substances, and recombinant DNA.

III. Data Gathering, Storage, Retention:

A common denominator in most cases of alleged scientific misconduct has been the absence of a complete set of verifiable data. The retention of accurately recorded and retrievable results is of utmost importance for the progress of scientific inquiry. A scientist must have access to his/her original results in order to respond to questions including, but not limited to, those that may arise without any implication of impropriety. Moreover, errors may be mistaken for misconduct when the primary experimental results are unavailable. In addition, when statistical analysis is required in the interpretation of data, it should be used in the design of studies as well as in the evaluation of results.

RECOMMENDATIONS:
  1. Custody of all original primary laboratory data must be retained by the unit in which they are generated. An investigator may make copies of the primary data for his/her own use.

  2. Original experimental results should be recorded, when possible, in bound books with numbered pages. An index should be maintained to facilitate access to data.

  3. Machine print-outs should be affixed to, or referenced from, the laboratory notebook.



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