About the Book

The first edition of Scientific Integrity: Text and Cases in Responsible Conduct of Research was published in 1995. The second and third editions each grew in length by approximately 20%, reflecting expansion in both scope and content. The Fourth Edition continues in this pattern. It is almost 30% larger than the Third Edition, and the addition of new and revised content arguably exceeds that of the second and third editions combined. The growth of the Fourth Edition has been driven by significant changes in the field of responsible research conduct. These changes have been evident in mandates, policies, laws, and other developments that continue to change the research landscape. Being aware of and understanding such change are critical elements needed to conduct research responsibly. Accountability and compliance as components of research conduct are essential to earning the trust of the public who, directly or indirectly, provide the resources for doing research that takes place in universities, research institutes, and other institutions in the not-for-profit sector.

Updated or new content may be found throughout this edition of the text, as noted in the following selected examples. Institutions, scientific societies, academies, and international organizations have published values that are expected to be held by researchers. And, the global research community has begun to articulate the values that undergird responsible research. Scientific organizations, societies, and institutions continue to develop guidance, recommendations, and tools that aim to increase the effectiveness of the mentor-trainee relationship. Authorship, peer review, and publication practices comprise a dynamic arena influenced by the open access movement, public access to federal grant-supported publications, postpublication review, and refined guidelines that speak to the responsibility and accountability of authorship. A significant revision of the federal policies and practices that are required for the use of animals in research has been published and enacted. A new federal conflict of interest policy for researchers has been implemented, and new developments in the assignment of intellectual property have been defined by a ruling of the U.S. Supreme Court. Data sharing has been more specifically addressed by federal funding agencies, and the scientific record-keeping field continues to evolve in response to electronic technologies.

All of the Fourth Edition chapters have been updated and revised, and two in particular have undergone major rewrites. “Collaborative Research” (chapter 8) now reflects new developments and practices found in a growing body of literature that provides guidance on collaboration, interdisciplinary research, and team science. I was pleased to work with Michelle Bennett who coauthored this chapter with me. The last chapter in the text, now titled “Science, Technology, and Society,” replaces a chapter that appeared in the first three editions titled “Genetic Technology and Scientific Integrity.” My coauthor, Cindy Munro, and I used the Third Edition chapter as a basis to create the “Science, Technology and Society” chapter in this volume. Using both historical perspective and contemporary issues, we aimed to stimulate thinking on scientific research and the ways it connects with and impacts on society. In doing so, we hope to encourage scientists to think deeply about the societal responsibilities of their research and its applications.

As with previous editions, the content of the book is augmented by the inclusion of interactive exercises like short case studies, survey tools, and a play-acting scenario that explores authorship credit. Approximately 35% of the end-of-chapter cases are new or significantly revised. Appendixes III (standards of conduct) and IV (subjects protections protocols) contain new, updated documents, and Appendix VII is new to the book. This appendix presents resources relevant to safe laboratory practices.

Although the Fourth Edition of Scientific Integrity: Text and Cases in Responsible Conduct of Research covers a variety of topics related to the conduct of scientific investigation, it is not a rulebook for the researcher or trainee. Guidelines and policies, standards, and codes are presented and discussed so that readers will be aware that many of the relevant issues are influenced by both written policies and normative standards. Yet, the values of the individual take on major importance in doing scientific research. Scientists continually make judgments and decisions about their research. Whether the issue is the timely release of experimental materials to a colleague or decisions about authorship on a manuscript, personal and professional standards and values come into play. Thus, definitive, unambiguous advice on dealing with these and other issues cannot be taught in textbooks. To be sure, this book provides relevant content material on responsible research conduct. But equally important, it provides tools to apply that knowledge. This book will challenge you to solve ethical research dilemmas in a variety of ways, most notably with case scenarios. Contemplation and informed analysis become the platform for learning in this setting. To echo the words of Michael Zigmond and Beth Fischer in the foreword, the ultimate aim of this book is to provide the opportunity to think: “to think about what it means to act responsibly.” The tools in this text provide material for such use in many of the venues and contexts found in the educational model that Zigmond and Fischer propose. In its case dilemmas, discussion questions, and other exercises, the book provides tools for challenging students at various points in their training programs. I have used such material in developing questions for both written and oral comprehensive exams and for dissertation defenses. Integrating the concepts of responsible conduct of research into our training infrastructure sends the message that learning RCR subject matter and mastering its use in solving problems is a critical part of continuing professional development.

The Fourth Edition of Scientific Integrity: Text and Cases in Responsible Conduct of Research aims to plant the seeds of awareness of existing, changing, and emerging standards in scientific conduct. Likewise, it provides the tools to promote critical thinking in the use of that information. My hope is that the book will set the stage for lifelong learning in responsible research conduct.

Francis L. Macrina
Richmond, Virginia