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Academic Integrity: Research Ethics

Ethical Norms

Defining Ethics:
Norms for conduct that distinguish between acceptable and unacceptable behavior

 Why is it important to adhere to ethical norms in research?

  1. Norms promote the aims of research, such as knowledge, truth, and avoidance of error.
  2. Ethical standards promote the values that are essential to collaborative work, such as trust, accountability, mutual respect, and fairness.
    • Research often involves a great deal of cooperation and coordination among many different people in different disciplines and institutions.
    • Many ethical norms in research are designed to protect intellectual property interests while encouraging collaboration.
      • Guidelines for authorship, copyright and patenting policies, data sharing policies, confidentiality rules in peer review...
  3. Many of the ethical norms help to ensure that researchers can be held accountable to the public.
  4. Ethical norms in research also help to build public support for research.
  5. Many of the norms of research promote a variety of other important moral and social values.
    • Social responsibility, human rights, animal welfare, compliance with the law, public health and safety...

  ❏  Learn More: What Is Ethics in Research & Why Is It Important? by David B. Resnik

Clips for Reference

Ethical Principals

  1. Honesty
    Strive for honesty in all scientific communications. Honestly report data, results, methods and procedures, and publication status. Do not fabricate, falsify, or misrepresent data. Do not deceive colleagues, research sponsors, or the public.
  2. Objectivity
    Strive to avoid bias in experimental design, data analysis, data interpretation, peer review, personnel decisions, grant writing, expert testimony, and other aspects of research where objectivity is expected or required. Avoid or minimize bias or self-deception. Disclose personal or financial interests that may affect research.
  3. Integrity
    Keep your promises and agreements; act with sincerity; strive for consistency of thought and action.
  4. Carefulness
    Avoid careless errors and negligence; carefully and critically examine your own work and the work of your peers. Keep good records of research activities, such as data collection, research design, and correspondence with agencies or journals.
  5. Openness
    Share data, results, ideas, tools, resources. Be open to criticism and new ideas.
  6. Intellectual Property
    Honor patents, copyrights, and other forms of intellectual property. Do not use unpublished data, methods, or results without permission. Give proper acknowledgement or credit for all contributions to research. Never plagiarize.
  7. Confidentiality
    Protect confidential communications, such as papers or grants submitted for publication, personnel records, trade or military secrets, and patient records.
  8. Responsible Publication
    Publish in order to advance research and scholarship, not to advance just your own career. Avoid wasteful and duplicative publication.
  9. Responsible Mentoring
    Help to educate, mentor, and advise students. Promote their welfare and allow them to make their own decisions.
  10. Respect for Colleagues
    Respect your colleagues and treat them fairly.
  11. Social Responsibility
    Strive to promote social good and prevent or mitigate social harms through research, public education, and advocacy.
  12. Non-Discrimination
    Avoid discrimination against colleagues or students on the basis of sex, race, ethnicity, or other factors not related to scientific competence and integrity.
  13. Competence
    Maintain and improve your own professional competence and expertise through lifelong education and learning; take steps to promote competence in science as a whole.
  14. Legality
    Know and obey relevant laws and institutional and governmental policies.
  15. Animal Care
    Show proper respect and care for animals when using them in research. Do not conduct unnecessary or poorly designed animal experiments.
  16. Human Subjects Protection
    When conducting research on human subjects, minimize harms and risks and maximize benefits; respect human dignity, privacy, and autonomy; take special precautions with vulnerable populations; and strive to distribute the benefits and burdens of research fairly.

  ❏  Learn More: Responsible conduct of research by Adil E. Shamoo and David B. Resnik (e-book)