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Responsible Science, Volume II: Background Papers and Resource Documents (1993)

Chapter: 12 Policy for Recording and Preserving Scientific Data

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Suggested Citation:"12 Policy for Recording and Preserving Scientific Data." National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, and Institute of Medicine. 1993. Responsible Science, Volume II: Background Papers and Resource Documents. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/2091.
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15
Guidelines for Professional Conduct

American Physical Society

The constitution of the American Physical Society states that the objective of the Society shall be the advancement and diffusion of the knowledge of physics. It is the purpose of this statement to advance that objective by presenting ethical guidelines for Society members.

Each physicist is a citizen of the community of science. Each shares responsibility for the welfare of this community. Science is best advanced when there is mutual trust, based upon honest behavior, throughout the community. Acts of deception, or any other acts that deliberately compromise the advancement of science, are therefore unacceptable. Honesty must be regarded as the cornerstone of ethics in science.

The following are minimal standards of ethical behavior relating to several critical aspects of the physics profession.

A. RESEARCH RESULTS

The results of research should be recorded and maintained in a form that allows analysis and review. Research data should be immediately available to scientific collaborators. Following publication the data should be retained for a reasonable period in order to be available promptly and completely to responsible scientists. Exceptions may be appropriate in certain circumstances in order to preserve privacy, to assure patent protection, or for similar reasons.

Fabrication of data or selective reporting of data with the intent to mislead or deceive is an egregious departure from the expected norms

NOTE: Dated November 3, 1991; reprinted with permission from the American Physical Society, Washington, D.C.

Suggested Citation:"12 Policy for Recording and Preserving Scientific Data." National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, and Institute of Medicine. 1993. Responsible Science, Volume II: Background Papers and Resource Documents. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/2091.
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of scientific conduct, as is the theft of data or research results from others.

B. PUBLICATION AND AUTHORSHIP PRACTICES

Authorship should be limited to those who have made a significant contribution to the concept, design, execution, and/or interpretation of the research study. All those who have made significant contributions should be offered the opportunity to be listed as authors. Other individuals who have contributed to the study should be acknowledged, but not be identified as authors. The sources of financial support for the project should be disclosed.

Plagiarism constitutes unethical scientific behavior and is never acceptable. Proper acknowledgment of the work of others used in a research project must always be given. Further, it is the obligation of each author to provide prompt retractions or correction of errors in published works.

C. PEER REVIEW

Peer review provides advice concerning research proposals, the publication of research results, and career advancement of colleagues. It is an essential component of the scientific process.

Peer review can serve its intended function only if the members of the scientific community are prepared to provide thorough, fair, and objective evaluations based on requisite expertise. Although peer review can be difficult and time-consuming, scientists have an obligation to participate in the process.

Privileged information or ideas that are obtained through peer review must be kept confidential and not be used for competitive gain.

Reviewers should disclose conflicts of interest resulting from direct competitive, collaborative, or other relationships with any of the authors, and avoid cases in which such conflicts preclude an objective evaluation.

D. CONFLICT OF INTEREST

There are many professional activities of physicists that have the potential for a conflict of interest. Any professional relationship or action that may result in a conflict of interest must be fully disclosed.

Suggested Citation:"12 Policy for Recording and Preserving Scientific Data." National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, and Institute of Medicine. 1993. Responsible Science, Volume II: Background Papers and Resource Documents. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/2091.
×

When objectivity and effectiveness are threatened the activity should be avoided or discontinued.

It should be recognized that honest error is an integral part of the scientific enterprise. It is not unethical to be wrong, provided errors are promptly acknowledged and corrected when they are detected. Professional integrity in the formulation, conduct, and reporting of physics activities reflects not only on the reputations of individual physicists and their organizations, but also on the image and credibility of the physics profession as perceived by scientific colleagues, government, and the public. It is important that the tradition of ethical behavior be carefully maintained and transmitted with enthusiasm to future generations.

Physicists have an individual and a collective responsibility to ensure that there is no compromise with these guidelines.

Suggested Citation:"12 Policy for Recording and Preserving Scientific Data." National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, and Institute of Medicine. 1993. Responsible Science, Volume II: Background Papers and Resource Documents. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/2091.
×
Page 226
Suggested Citation:"12 Policy for Recording and Preserving Scientific Data." National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, and Institute of Medicine. 1993. Responsible Science, Volume II: Background Papers and Resource Documents. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/2091.
×
Page 227
Suggested Citation:"12 Policy for Recording and Preserving Scientific Data." National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, and Institute of Medicine. 1993. Responsible Science, Volume II: Background Papers and Resource Documents. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/2091.
×
Page 228
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Volume II of Responsible Science includes background papers and selected institutional reports, policies, and procedures that were used to develop Volume I. Topics discussed include traditions of mentorship in science; data handling practices in the biological sciences; academic policies and standards governing the conduct of research practices; congressional interest in issues of misconduct and integrity in science; the regulatory experience of human subjects research; and the roles of scientific and engineering societies in fostering research integrity.

The panel also considers numerous institutional policy statements adopted by research universities and professional societies that address different aspects of misconduct or integrity in science. These statements have been selected to convey the diverse approaches for addressing such matters within research institutions.

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