Committee on Responsible Science
Committee on Science, Engineering, Medicine, and Public Policy
Policy and Global Affairs
A Consensus Study Report of
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This activity was supported by the Burroughs Wellcome Fund under Grant No. 1012589, the Office of Inspector General of the National Science Foundation under Contract No. NSFDACS11P1173, the Office of Research Integrity of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services under Contract No. HHSP23320042509XI, the Office of Science of the U.S. Department of Energy under Contract No. DE-SC0005916, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs under Contract No. VA101-C17404, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency under Contract Nos. EP-C-09-003 and EP-C-09-005, and the U.S. Geological Survey of the U.S. Department of the Interior under Contract No. G10AP00150, with additional support from the American Chemical Society, the American Physical Society, the Society for Neuroscience, the National Academy of Sciences Arthur L. Day Fund, and the W. K. Kellogg Foundation Fund. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect the views of any organization or agency that provided support for the project.
International Standard Book Number-13: 978-0-309-39125-2
International Standard Book Number-10: 0-309-39125-3
Library of Congress Control Number 2017947965
Digital Object Identifier: https://doi.org/10.17226/21896
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Copyright 2017 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
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Suggested citation: National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Fostering Integrity in Research. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: https://doi.org/10.17226/21896.
The National Academy of Sciences was established in 1863 by an Act of Congress, signed by President Lincoln, as a private, nongovernmental institution to advise the nation on issues related to science and technology. Members are elected by their peers for outstanding contributions to research. Dr. Marcia McNutt is president.
The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964 under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences to bring the practices of engineering to advising the nation. Members are elected by their peers for extraordinary contributions to engineering. Dr. C. D. Mote, Jr., is president.
The National Academy of Medicine (formerly the Institute of Medicine) was established in 1970 under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences to advise the nation on medical and health issues. Members are elected by their peers for distinguished contributions to medicine and health. Dr. Victor J. Dzau is president.
The three Academies work together as the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine to provide independent, objective analysis and advice to the nation and conduct other activities to solve complex problems and inform public policy decisions. The National Academies also encourage education and research, recognize outstanding contributions to knowledge, and increase public understanding in matters of science, engineering, and medicine.
Learn more about the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine at www.nationalacademies.org.
Consensus Study Reports published by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine document the evidence-based consensus on the study’s statement of task by an authoring committee of experts. Reports typically include findings, conclusions, and recommendations based on information gathered by the committee and the committee’s deliberations. Each report has been subjected to a rigorous and independent peer-review process and it represents the position of the National Academies on the statement of task.
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COMMITTEE ON RESPONSIBLE SCIENCE
ROBERT M. NEREM (Chair), Institute Professor and Parker H. Petit Professor Emeritus, Institute for Bioengineering and Bioscience, Georgia Institute of Technology
ANN M. ARVIN, Lucile Salter Packard Professor of Pediatrics and Professor of Microbiology and Immunology, Stanford University School of Medicine and Vice Provost and Dean of Research, Stanford University
REBECCA M. BERGMAN, President, Gustavus Adolphus College
MOSES H. CHAN, Evan Pugh Professor of Physics, Pennsylvania State University
C. K. GUNSALUS, Director, National Center for Professional and Research Ethics, Research Professor, Coordinated Science Laboratory, Professor Emerita, College of Business, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
DEBORAH G. JOHNSON, Anne Shirley Carter Olsson Professor of Applied Ethics Emerita, University of Virginia
MICHAEL A. KELLER, Ida M. Green University Librarian, Publisher of Stanford University Press, Founder of HighWire Press, Stanford University
W. CARL LINEBERGER, E. U. Condon Distinguished Professor of Chemistry and Fellow of JILA, University of Colorado
BRIAN C. MARTINSON, Senior Research Investigator, HealthPartners Institute, Core Investigator, Minneapolis VA, Center for Chronic Disease Outcomes Research, and Associate Professor, University of Minnesota, Department of Medicine
VICTORIA STODDEN, Associate Professor of Information Sciences, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
SARA E. WILSON, Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering, University of Kansas
PAUL ROOT WOLPE, Asa Griggs Candler Professor of Bioethics, Director, Center for Ethics, Emory University
LEVI WOOD, Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology
TOM ARRISON, Study Director
LIDA ANESTIDOU, Senior Program Officer
NINA WARD, Research Associate
NEERAJ GORKHALY, Research Associate (until February 2014)
MARIA LUND DAHLBERG, Associate Program Officer (until September 2016)
STEVE OLSON, Consultant Writer
COMMITTEE ON SCIENCE, ENGINEERING, MEDICINE, AND PUBLIC POLICY
RICHARD N. ZARE [NAS] (Chair), Marguerite Blake Wilbur Professor, Stanford University
CYNTHIA BARNHART [NAE], Chancellor, Ford Professor of Engineering, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
DAVID E. DANIEL [NAE], Deputy Chancellor, The University of Texas System
VICTOR J. DZAU [NAM] (ex-officio), President, National Academy of Medicine
DIANE E. GRIFFIN [NAS, NAM], Distinguished University Service Professor, W. Harry Feinstone Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
JOHN G. HILDEBRAND [NAS], Regents Professor, Department of Neuroscience, University of Arizona
JUDITH KIMBLE [NAS], Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute; Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and Medical Genetics, University of Wisconsin–Madison
DAVID KORN [NAM], Consultant in Pathology, Massachusetts General Hospital; Professor of Pathology, Harvard Medical School
ALAN I. LESHNER [NAM], CEO Emeritus, American Association for the Advancement of Science
MARCIA McNUTT [NAS] (ex-officio), President, National Academy of Sciences
RICHARD A. MESERVE [NAE], Senior of Counsel, Covington & Burling LLP
C. D. MOTE, JR. [NAE] (ex-officio), President, National Academy of Engineering
J. SANFORD SCHWARTZ [NAM], Leon Hess Professor of Medicine, Professor of Health Care Management and Economics, School of Medicine and the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania
CHRISTOPHER A. SIMS [NAS], Professor of Economics and Banking, Department of Economics, Princeton University
ROBERT F. SPROULL [NAE], Vice President and Director, Oracle Labs (retired); Adjunct Professor of Computer Science, University of Massachusetts at Amherst
JAMES M. TIEN [NAE], Distinguished Professor and Dean Emeritus, College of Engineering Electrical & Computer Engineering Department, University of Miami
MICHAEL S. WITHERALL [NAS], Laboratory Director, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
SUSAN M. WOLF [NAM], McKnight Presidential Professor of Law, Medicine and Public Policy; Faegre Baker Daniels Professor of Law; Professor of Medicine, University of Minnesota
PETER WOLYNES [NAS], D. R. Bullard-Welch Foundation Professor of Chemistry, Center for Theoretical Biological Physics-BCR, Rice University
ANNE-MARIE MAZZA, Director
KEVIN FINNERAN, Director (until December 2016)
GURU MADHAVAN, Program Officer (until November 2010)
MARIA LUND DAHLBERG, Associate Program Officer (until September 2016)
JAMIE BIGLOW, Senior Program Assistant (until November 2015)
NEERAJ GORKHALY, Research Associate (until March 2014)
MARION RAMSEY, Administrative Associate (until October 2013)
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Several decades ago, a series of highly visible cases of alleged research misconduct prompted researchers, research institutions, research sponsors, and others to consider how they might promote research integrity and address breaches in integrity more effectively. Up to that time, the research enterprise and its key stakeholders often approached these issues in an informal and ad hoc manner. Ultimately, the United States and some other countries developed and implemented formal policies and procedures aimed at ensuring that research misconduct allegations are investigated, and launched new educational programs in the responsible conduct of research. The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine were very involved in these discussions and debates, and have made significant contributions since that time.
In recent years, as ongoing globalization, technological advances, and other shifts have transformed research, it is clear that the research enterprise faces new and complex challenges in fostering integrity and in dealing with the consequences of research misconduct and detrimental research practices. Serious cases of research misconduct—including some that have gone undetected for years—continue to emerge with disturbing regularity in the United States and around the world. Increases in the number and percentage of research articles that are retracted and growing concern about low rates of reproducibility in some research fields raise questions about how the research enterprise can better ensure that investments in research produce reliable knowledge.
It is necessary for all of us involved in performing, managing, funding, and communicating research to commit to improving practices in our own organizations and disciplines as well as more broadly. Key areas of focus include institutional efforts to sustain research environments conducive to integrity, greatly
expanded sharing of data and code, more complete reporting of results, more responsible approaches to scholarly publishing, better understanding of the causes and consequences of breaches in integrity, and clearer standards for authorship. While this report provides a framework and rationale for positive change, collective action on the part of the community will be necessary to push forward toward a research future characterized by greater integrity and quality.
I am very grateful to the committee for dedicating considerable time and effort to a project that turned out to be more difficult and time-consuming than anticipated. The experts who shared their knowledge and experience with us made a central contribution to our effort. We are also grateful to the project’s sponsors, who recognized the importance of these issues. Finally, the staff members of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine who worked with us were essential to performing this study, particularly Tom Arrison who has been the heart and soul of the project.
Robert M. Nerem, Chair
This Consensus Study Report was reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine in making each published report as sound as possible and to ensure that it meets the institutional standards for quality, objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process.
We thank the following individuals for their review of this report: Bruce Alberts, University of California, San Francisco; David Allison, University of Alabama, Birmingham; Stephanie Bird, Science and Engineering Ethics; Clyde Briant, Brown University; Philip Campbell, Nature; Claude Canizares, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Arturo Casadevall, Johns Hopkins University; Peggy Fischer, National Science Foundation (retired); John Galland, University of Hawaii; Cato Laurencin, University of Connecticut; Willem Levelt, Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics; Melanie Loots, University of Illinois; Marcia McNutt, American Association for the Advancement of Science;1 Barbara Redman, New York University; Dorothy Robinson, Yale University; Norman Sleep, Stanford University; Elizabeth Wager, University of Split, Croatia; and Joanne Waldstreicher, Johnson & Johnson.
Although the reviewers listed above provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the conclusions or recommenda-
1 Dr. McNutt was at American Association for the Advancement of Science when she served as a reviewer.
tions of this report nor did they see the final draft before its release. The review of this report was overseen by Georges C. Benjamin (American Public Health Association) and David Korn (Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard University). They were responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with the standards of the National Academies and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content rests entirely with the authoring committee and the National Academies.