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RESPONSIBLE SCIENCE: Ensuring the Integrity of the Research Process
Perspectives gained from looking beyond science itself are valuable in examining ethical issues in the research environment. Studies in ethics, moral philosophy, history, and the social studies of science can contribute to a broader outlook that can aid in rethinking controversial issues and establishing values in research.
If properly structured, topics and teaching materials related to ethics in science and research can be intellectually stimulating for students and faculty. Such topics can be taught in dedicated courses or included in courses within the broad curriculum. The panel 's discussions with students and faculty indicate that both approaches are desired by the larger community.
As noted above, universities that have applied for NIH or AD-AMHA training grants must develop educational programs to foster broad discussions of responsible research practices. The NIH has convened several workshops to examine the strengths and limitations of various approaches to fulfilling the training grant requirement.4
Some departments and universities have sponsored forums and seminars that offer students the benefit of learning from watching faculty grapple seriously with issues involving responsible practice. Real or hypothetical case studies are also useful devices for examining selected research practices. Relevant instruction and the message that responsibility in research is to be taken seriously can also be given in orientation programs for new graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and faculty.
Interdisciplinary training workshops may improve the quality of instruction and curriculum materials for teaching ethics in scientific research. After a period of years, and when a significant number of schools have developed curricula on research ethics, it could be useful to review and to improve as necessary the quality of teaching and of the curriculum materials used for instruction in research ethics. 5 Such a review could draw on the expertise and judgments of a consensus panel representing those engaged in ethics instruction as well as those who are respected scientists in the fields under study.
CONSIDERING GUIDELINES FOR RESPONSIBLE RESEARCH PRACTICES
Current Means for Providing Guidance
Even though most research institutions do not have written guidelines for the conduct of research, their faculty usually act individually and