Guidelines for training in the ethical conduct of scientific research

Science and Engineering Ethics 1 (1):59-70 (1995)
Abstract
Historically, scientists in training have learned the rules of ethical conduct by the example of their advisors and other senior scientists and by practice. This paper is intended to serve as a guide for the beginning scientist to some fundamental principles of scientific research ethics. The paper focuses less on issues of outright dishonesty or fraud, and more on the positive aspects of ethical scientific behavior; in other words, what a scientist should do to maintain a high level of ethical conduct in research. There are a number of fairly specific rules, guidelines, or commonly accepted operating principles that have evolved for the ethical conduct of science. In order to discuss this code of ethics, this paper is divided into sections dealing with specific areas of scientific ethics. These areas are: data collection and storage, ownership of data, confidentiality, communication, authorship, collaboration, the peer review system, and rules of dealing with ethical complaints. Illustrative case histories are presented to provide examples of the type of ethical dispute or problem being discussed. If scientific trainees learn the accepted rules of behavior that govern the conduct of science, ethical problems that arise out of ignorance, misunderstanding, or poor communication can be avoided.
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