Filing charges of scientific misconduct can be a risky and dangerous endeavor. This article presents rules of conduct to follow when considering whether to report perceived misconduct, and a set of step-by-step procedures for responsible whistleblowing that describe how to do so once the decision to report misconduct has been made. This advice is framed within the university setting, and may not apply fully in industrial settings.
We describe the development, testing, and formative evaluation of nine role-play scenarios for teaching central topics in the responsible conduct of research to graduate students in science and engineering. In response to formative evaluation surveys, students reported that the role-plays were more engaging and promoted deeper understanding than a lecture or case study covering the same topic. In the future, summative evaluations will test whether students display this deeper understanding and retain the lessons of the role-play experience.
A thoughtful and well-designed institutional response to a whistleblower starts long before a problem ever arises. Important elements include efforts by the institution’s leaders to cultivate an ethical environment, provide clear and fair personnel policies, support internal systems for resolving complaints and grievances, and be willing to address problems when they are revealed. While many institutions have well-developed procedures for handling formal grievances, systems for handling complaints at their earliest stages usually receive less attention. This article focuses on systemic elements (...) necessary for cultivating an ethical environment, good practices in responding to complaints, and the role those practices can play in preventing a confrontation with a whistleblower. (shrink)
Without any systematic data or evidence of a problem, or even a thoughtful analysis of costs and benefits, the application of the human participant review system within universities is overreaching at the same time that some risky experimentation on humans outside of universities is unregulated. This article questions the purpose, feasibility, and effectiveness of current IRB approaches to most "2 people talking" situations and proposes scaling back the regulatory system to increase respect accorded it by researchers and its ability to (...) protect human participants of research from real versus imagined harms. In too many cases, the focus is on form over ethical substance: counting what can be counted, rather than focusing instead on what counts. Some disciplines - oral history and journalism, for example - simply do not belong within the scope of institutional review board jurisdiction. Others, such as survey research, informational interviews, and informal interactions, call for a shift from centralized review to more departmentally based (i.e., rooted in disciplinary ethics) oversight, and clearer guidelines on what requires advance review as opposed to provision of post hoc complaint systems. (shrink)
We send messages as much in how we communicate as by what we communicate. Learning best practices, such as those for data management proposed in the accompanying article, are components of becoming a responsible and contributing member of the community of scholars. Not only must we teach the principles underlying best practices, we should model and teach approaches for implementing those practices and help students come to view them within the larger context of becoming members of a professional community. How (...) to collaborate across differences and how to have disputes professionally are skills all professionals need, and they should be taught along with the content itself. (shrink)