Measuring consensus about scientific research norms

Science and Engineering Ethics 6 (3):315-340 (2000)
Abstract
In this paper, we empirically explore some manifestations of norms for the conduct of science. We focus on scientific research ethics and report survey results from 606 scientists who received funding in 1993 and 1994 from the Division of Molecular and Cellular Biology of the Biology Directorate of the National Science Foundation. We also report results for 91 administrators charged with overseeing research integrity at the scientists’ research institutions. Both groups of respondents were presented with a set of scenarios, designed by fractional factorial methods, describing different kinds of scientific conduct that in the eyes of some would likely be unethical. Respondents then were asked to evaluate each of these scenarios for how unethical the behavior might be and what kinds of sanctions might be appropriate. We use the responses to consider the nature of consensus around norms related to the practice of science and in particular, similarities and differences between scientists and science administrators. Implications for policy are also discussed.
Keywords scientific ethics  conduct of science  survey research
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