and accept certain explicit obligations. Institutions should strive to attain a research enterprise that emphasizes and rewards excellence in science, quality rather than quantity, openness rather than secrecy, and collegial obligations rather than opportunistic behavior in appointment, promotion, tenure, and other career decisions.
However, aggressive efforts to assure responsible research practices, if carried to an extreme, can damage the research enterprise. Balance is required. Inflexible rules or requirements can increase the time and effort necessary to conduct research, can decrease innovation, can discourage creative individuals from pursuing research careers, and can in some instances make the research process impossible.
In particular, mentors and research directors should (1) educate themselves, their students, and associates about responsible research practices; (2) examine difficult or problematic issues that provide opportunities to clarify principles, rights, interests, and obligations that may come into conflict; and (3) inform their students and associates about available institutional channels for expressing concerns regarding misconduct in science, questionable research practices, and other misconduct.
Efforts to improve the research training experience need encouragement. The research community should recognize the damage that can be done by poor mentorship practices, whether abusive or neglectful. Inappropriate practices should be identified and corrected quickly, but with regard for the privacy of the involved parties. Institutional leaders should take steps to establish a climate within the research setting that encourages research collaboration and educational training and fosters constructive ties between mentors and trainees. This climate should encourage the identification of poor mentorship practices at an early stage and establish fall-back arrangements in case some unanticipated event—such as the death of a mentor, or an instance of misconduct in science or other misconduct—disturbs the relationship. Fall-back provisions should provide necessary support, both emotional and material, to the trainee from the resources of the department or institution.
Scientists and research institutions should integrate into their curricula educational programs that foster faculty and student awareness of concerns related to the integrity of the research process.
Discussion: Educational programs on research ethics should reflect the diverse perspectives of the scientific community but should