"The public will support science only if it can trust the scientists and institutions that conduct research."
- Institute of Medicine and National Research Council, Integrity in Scientific Research: Creating an Environment That Promotes Responsible Conduct, 2002.


For the vast majority of those people engaged in the research enterprise, doing the right thing is the operative principle. Scientists want to perform carefully designed experiments, take into consideration the ethics of human and animal subject protection, properly record data, and report results in the literature and at conferences in as accurate a fashion as possible in order to advance knowledge.

Someone who would knowingly lie about research data or steal someone else's ideas, according to the bioethicist Arthur Caplan, suffers from lapsed morals. All the information in the world about research misconduct and the responsible conduct of research probably wouldn't change his or her behavior, Caplan says. In fact, a scoundrel taking part in training programs dedicated to these issues might actually get better ideas about performing misdeeds.

The goal of this educational module is not to transform those few bad seeds. Rather, the goal is to provide information to researchers about what constitutes misconduct, how to report it, and how institutions can deal with it, and to identify some practices that might decrease the risk of unwitting or deliberate research misconduct. Review Learning Objectives

Next: Proceed to a series of "Challenge Questions" that will test your understanding of Research Misconduct or go on to the next section.

Answer Challenge Questions | Next: → Case Study