The scientific community has expressed its concern about the vagueness and the inconsistencies between agencies in the definition of scientific misconduct as well as concerns about failures of due process and confidentiality on the part of federal agencies. A dialogue is ongoing that, it is hoped, will resolve some of these issues, thus enabling universities and the federal agencies to fulfill their responsibilities while protecting the rights and reputations of the individuals involved and ensuring the productivity and creativity of the scientific enterprise. We endorse MIT's efforts to join with other universities, professional societies, and individual members of the scientific community in working cooperatively with federal agencies to improve procedures for the federal response to allegations of scientific misconduct.

The past few years have seen considerable turmoil surrounding the issue of institutional response to allegations of scientific misconduct. During these past few years, universities have put in place federally mandated procedures to deal with such allegations that occur on their campuses. The National Academy of Sciences … established a Committee on Scientific Responsibility and the Conduct of Research … [that reported in April 1992]. We urge a period of stability with respect to new federal regulations to give universities and the scientific community an opportunity to gain experience with these procedures.

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