This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
by David B. Resnik, J.D., Ph.D.
When most people think of ethics (or morals), they think of rules for distinguishing between right and wrong, such as the Golden Rule ("Do unto others as you would have them do unto you"), a code of professional conduct like the Hippocratic Oath ("First of all, do no harm"), a religious creed like the Ten Commandments ("Thou Shalt not kill..."), or a wise aphorisms like the sayings of Confucius. This is the most common way of defining "ethics": norms for conduct that distinguish between acceptable and unacceptable behavior. Most people learn ethical norms at home, at school, in church, or in other social settings. Although most people acquire their sense of right and wrong during childhood, moral development occurs throughout life and human beings pass through different stages of growth as they mature. Ethical norms are so ubiquitous that one might be tempted to regard them as simple commonsense. On the other hand, if morality were nothing more than commonsense, then why are there so many ethical disputes and issues in our society? One plausible explanation of these disagreements is that all people recognize some common ethical norms but different individuals interpret, apply, and balance these norms in different ways in light of their own values and life experiences. Most societies also have legal rules that govern behavior, but ethical norms tend to be broader and more informal than laws. Although most societies use laws to enforce widely accepted moral standards and ethical and legal rules use similar concepts, it is important to remember that ethics and law are not the same. An action may be legal but unethical or illegal but ethical. We can also use ethical concepts and principles to criticize, evaluate, propose, or interpret laws. Indeed, in the last century, many social reformers urged citizens to disobey laws in order to protest what they regarded as immoral or unjust laws. Peaceful civil disobedience is an ethical way of expressing political viewpoints. Another way of defining 'ethics' focuses on the disciplines that study standards of conduct, such as philosophy, theology, law, psychology, or sociology. For example, a "medical ethicist" is someone who studies ethical standards in medicine. One may also define ethics as a method, procedure, or perspective for deciding how to act and for analyzing complex problems and issues. For instance, in considering a complex issue like global warming, one may take an economic, ecological, political, or ethical perspective on the problem. While an economist might examine the cost and benefits of various policies related to global warming, an environmental ethicist could examine the ethical values and principles at stake. Many different disciplines, institutions, and professions have norms for behavior that suit their particular aims and goals. These norms also help members of the discipline to coordinate their actions or activities and to establish the public's trust of the discipline. For instance, ethical norms govern conduct in medicine, law, engineering, and business. Ethical norms also serve the aims or goals of research and apply to people who conduct scientific research or other scholarly or creative activities. There is even a specialized discipline, research ethics, which studies these norms.
falsifying. For example. and avoidance of error. The following is a rough and general summary of some ethical principals that various codes address*: Honesty Strive for honesty in all scientific communications. Do not fabricate. compliance with the law. granting agencies. Most researchers want to receive credit for their contributions and do not want to have their ideas stolen or disclosed prematurely. copyright and patenting policies. such as social responsibility. and policies relating to research ethics. and fairness. Ethical lapses in research can significantly harm human and animal subjects. Do not deceive colleagues. For example. data sharing policies. and a researcher who fails to abide by regulations and guidelines relating to radiation or biological safety may jeopardize his health and safety or the health and safety of staff and students. and health and safety. . many of the norms of research promote a variety of other important moral and social values. Second. many ethical norms in research. Honestly report data. Statements on Ethics and Professional Responsibility (American Anthropological Association). and confidentiality rules in peer review. accountability. a researcher who fabricates data in a clinical trial may harm or even kill patients. the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). such as guidelines for authorship. Fourth. Code of Ethics (American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science) Ethical Principles of Psychologists (American Psychological Association). such as trust. since research often involves a great deal of cooperation and coordination among many different people in different disciplines and institutions. prohibitions against fabricating. many of the ethical norms help to ensure that researchers can be held accountable to the public. and the public. People more likely to fund research project if they can trust the quality and integrity of research. federal policies on research misconduct. or misrepresent data. or misrepresenting research data promote the truth and avoid error. ethical norms in research also help to build public support for research. and animal care and use are necessary in order to make sure that researchers who are funded by public money can be held accountable to the public. or the public. Many government agencies. truth. conflicts of interest. the National Science Foundation (NSF). the Chemist's Code of Conduct (American Chemical Society). Third. students. such as the National Institutes of Health (NIH). the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). First. falsify. Finally. the human subjects protections. and the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) have ethics rules for funded researchers. the Nuremberg Code and the Declaration of Helsinki (World Medical Association). and publication status. human rights. For instance. government agencies. rules. animal welfare. Statement on Professional Ethics (American Association of University Professors). results. mutual respect. methods and procedures. For example. are designed to protect intellectual property interests while encouraging collaboration. ethical standards promote the values that are essential to collaborative work. Other influential research ethics policies include the Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals (International Committee of Medical Journal Editors). norms promote the aims of research. and universities have adopted specific codes. it should come as no surprise that many different professional associations. Codes and Policies for Research Ethics Given the importance of ethics for the conduct of research.There are several reasons why it is important to adhere to ethical norms in research. such as knowledge.
personnel decisions. copyrights. and patient records. Non-Discrimination Avoid discrimination against colleagues or students on the basis of sex. methods. Avoid wasteful and duplicative publication. Be open to criticism and new ideas. results. and advocacy. Responsible Publication Publish in order to advance research and scholarship. Integrity Keep your promises and agreements. trade or military secrets. ideas. Promote their welfare and allow them to make their own decisions. strive for consistency of thought and action. and correspondence with agencies or journals. such as data collection. and other forms of intellectual property. Give proper acknowledgement or credit for all contributions to research. research design. such as papers or grants submitted for publication.Objectivity Strive to avoid bias in experimental design. public education. race. Confidentiality Protect confidential communications. data interpretation. peer review. Do not use unpublished data. ethnicity. Keep good records of research activities. Carefulness Avoid careless errors and negligence. Competence Maintain and improve your own professional competence and expertise through lifelong . carefully and critically examine your own work and the work of your peers. Disclose personal or financial interests that may affect research. or results without permission. not to advance just your own career. Avoid or minimize bias or self-deception. and other aspects of research where objectivity is expected or required. Never plagiarize. and advise students. data analysis. tools. Give credit where credit is due. Social Responsibility Strive to promote social good and prevent or mitigate social harms through research. act with sincerity. resources. Openness Share data. Respect for Intellectual Property Honor patents. grant writing. expert testimony. Responsible Mentoring Help to educate. Respect for colleagues Respect your colleagues and treat them fairly. or other factors that are not related to their scientific competence and integrity. personnel records. mentor.
He therefore decides to extrapolate from the 45 completed results to produce the 5 additional results. Dr. self-deception. he really wants to finish his work in time to go to Florida on spring break with his friends. The journal has just gone to press. In order to avoid embarrassment. which the government defines as "fabrication. however. and strive to distribute the benefits and burdens of research fairly. Human Subjects Protection When conducting research on human subjects. The error does not affect the overall results of his research. Many different research ethics policies would hold that Tom has acted unethically by fabricating data. Tom has almost finished the experiment for Dr. they do not cover every situation. The vast majority of decisions involve the straightforward application of ethical rules. If this study were sponsored by a federal agency. assess. bias. Animal Care Show proper respect and care for animals when using them in research. policies. Also. Responsible Conduct of Research. that misconduct occurs only when researchers intend to deceive: honest errors related to sloppiness. and interpretations do not constitute research misconduct. like any set of rules. falsification. Consider the following case: Case 2: Dr. 2nd ed. It is important to remember. with chemical and behavioral tests to determine toxic effects. or plagiarism" (or FFP). Ethical Decision Making in Research Although codes. It is therefore important for researchers to learn how to interpret. such as the NIH. they often conflict. who are leaving tonight. Do not conduct unnecessary or poorly designed animal experiments. procedures. take steps to promote competence in science as a whole. He has only 5 mice left to test. and autonomy. consider the following case. Q. and even negligence do not constitute misconduct. He has injected the drug in all 50 mice but has not completed all of the tests. and apply various research rules and how to make decisions and to act in various situations. T decides to ignore the error. . Case 1: The research protocol for a study of a drug on hypertension requires the administration of the drug at different doses to 50 laboratory mice. poor record keeping. miscalculations. privacy. For example. (New York: Oxford University Press). 2009. take special precautions with vulnerable populations. respect human dignity.education and learning. T has just discovered a mathematical error in a paper that has been accepted for publication in a journal. However. * Adapted from Shamoo A and Resnik D. but it is potentially misleading. and principals are very important and useful. Legality Know and obey relevant laws and institutional and governmental policies. his actions would constitute a form of research misconduct. so it is too late to catch the error before it appears in print. minimize harms and risks and maximize benefits. reasonable disagreements about research methods. and they require considerable interpretation. Actions that nearly all researchers classify as unethical are viewed as misconduct.
or exploiting graduate or post-doctoral students Failing to keep good research records Failing to maintain research data for a reasonable period of time Making derogatory comments and personal attacks in your review of author's submission Promising a student a better grade for sexual favors Using a racist epithet in the laboratory Making significant deviations from the research protocol approved by your institution's Animal Care and Use Committee or Institutional Review Board for Human Subjects Research without telling the committee or the board Not reporting an adverse event in a human research experiment * . T should tell the journal about the error and consider publishing a correction or errata. There are many other activities that the government does not define as "misconduct" but which are still regarded by most researchers as unethical. would say that Dr.Dr. Most researchers. neglecting. including ECU's policies. T's error is not misconduct nor is his decision to take no action to correct the error. Failing to publish a correction would be unethical because it would violate norms relating to honesty and objectivity in research. as well as many different policies and codes. These are called "other deviations" from acceptable research practices and include: * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * Publishing the same paper in two different journals without telling the editors Submitting the same paper to different journals without telling the editors Not informing a collaborator of your intent to file a patent in order to make sure that you are the sole inventor Including a colleague as an author on a paper in return for a favor even though the colleague did not make a serious contribution to the paper Discussing with your colleagues confidential data from a paper that you are reviewing for a journal Trimming outliers from a data set without discussing your reasons in paper Using an inappropriate statistical technique in order to enhance the significance of your research Bypassing the peer review process and announcing your results through a press conference without giving peers adequate information to review your work Conducting a review of the literature that fails to acknowledge the contributions of other people in the field or relevant prior work Stretching the truth on a grant application in order to convince reviewers that your project will make a significant contribution to the field Stretching the truth on a job application or curriculum vita Giving the same research project to two graduate students in order to see who can do it the fastest Overworking.
situations frequently arise in research in which different people disagree about the proper course of action and there is no broad consensus about what should be done. papers. Wexford faces a difficult choice. Wexford needs to take some time to think about what she should do. there has been considerable debate about the definition of "research misconduct" and many researchers and policy makers are not satisfied with the government's narrow definition that focuses on FFP. Finally. the ethical norm of openness obliges her to share data with the other research team. or data Rigging an experiment so you know how it will turn out Making unauthorized copies of data. On the other hand. epidemiological study on the health of 5. and various disease outcomes such as cancer. Indeed. It seems that there are good arguments on both sides of this issue and Dr. provided that the investigators sign a data use agreement. genetics. One possible option is to share data. given the huge list of potential offenses that might fall into the category "other serious deviations. On the one hand. Most of these would also violate different professional ethics codes or institutional policies. These situations create difficult decisions for research known as ethical dilemmas. She has just published a paper on the relationship between pesticide exposure and PD in a prestigious journal. they may publish results that she was planning to publish. However. They are interested in examining the relationship between pesticide exposures and skin cancer. She receives a request from another research team that wants access to her complete dataset. and ALS. if she shares data with the other team.000 in stock in a company that sponsors your research and not disclosing this financial interest Deliberately overestimating the clinical significance of a new drug in order to obtain economic benefits These actions would be regarded as unethical by most scientists and some might even be illegal. Dr. they do not fall into the narrow category of actions that the government classifies as research misconduct." and the practical problems with defining and policing these other deviations. it is understandable why government officials have chosen to limit their focus. environmental exposures. there may be good arguments on both sides of the issue and different ethical principles may conflict. The agreement could define allowable . In these situations. diet. thus depriving her (and her team) of recognition and priority. She is planning to publish many other papers from her dataset. However. books.* * * * * * * * * Wasting animals in research Exposing students and staff to biological risks in violation of your institution's biosafety rules Rejecting a manuscript for publication without even reading it Sabotaging someone's work Stealing supplies. Dr. She has an impressive dataset that includes information on demographics. or computer programs Owning over $10. Her funding agency may also have rules that obligate her to share data. Parkinson’s disease (PD). Wexford was planning to conduct a study on this topic.000 agricultural workers. Wexford is the principal investigator of a large. Consider the following case: Case 3: Dr.
What would he or she do in this situation? Which choice would be the most just. can take to deal with ethical dilemmas in research: What is the problem or issue? It is always important to get a clear statement of the problem. a person facing an ethical dilemma may decide to ask more questions. However. authorship. the issue is whether to share information with the other research team. He or she should be able to articulate reasons for his or her conduct and should consider the following questions in order to explain how he or she arrived at his or her decision: . or consider other ethical rules. Broader ethical rules. or fear. Are there any people who can offer ethical advice? It may be useful to seek advice from a colleague. etc. the team's intellectual property interests. What is the relevant information? Many bad decisions are made as a result of poor information. In the case. Wexford needs to have more information concerning such matters as university or funding agency policies that may apply to this situation. or anyone else you can trust (?). administrators. etc. Laws relating to intellectual property may be relevant. Dr. bias. whether the other team also has some information it is willing to share. The following are some step that researchers. Wexford. To know what to do. such as openness and respect for credit and intellectual property. as well as colleagues. If . there may be another choice besides 'share' or 'don't share. gather more information. at some point he or she will have to make a decision and then take action. In this case.uses of the data. After considering these questions. ignorance. may also apply to this case. a senior researcher. the possibility of negotiating some kind of agreement with the other team. your department chair. a person who makes a decision in an ethical dilemma should be able to justify his or her decision to himself or herself. * * * * * Which choice could stand up to further publicity and scrutiny? Which choice could you not live with? Think of the wisest person you know. Ideally. In this case. Dr. Wexford might want to talk to her supervisor and research team before making a decision. and other people who might be affected by the decision.' such as 'negotiate an agreement. publication plans. or responsible? Which choice will probably have the best overall consequences? After considering all of these questions. one still might find it difficult to decide what to do. fair. such as Dr.' How do ethical codes or policies as well as legal rules apply to these different options? The university or funding agency may have policies on data management that apply to this case. Will the public/science be better served by the additional research? What are the different options? People may fail to see different options due to a limited imagination. explore different options.
The rate of misconduct has been estimated to be as low as 0. However. defenders of the stressful environment theory point out that science's peer review system is far from perfect and that it is relatively easy to cheat the system. Erroneous or fraudulent research often enters the public record without being detected for years. although there is considerable variation among various estimates. If you feel this way. such as pressures to publish or obtain grants or contracts. You may believe that you are highly ethical and know the difference between right and wrong.this is the case. However. but so far there is no evidence that science has become ethically corrupt. According to the "bad apple" theory. According to the "stressful" or "imperfect" environment theory. Moreover. in part. on how one understands the causes of misconduct.' Moreover. falsification. most scientists are highly ethical. the pursuit of profit or fame. Clearly. incentives. cited above. and improve ethical judgment and decision making. and constraints encourage people to commit misconduct. Promoting Ethical Conduct in Science Many of you may be wondering why you are required to have training in research ethics. when people who are .e. a course in research ethics will have little impact on "bad apples. or even flipping a coin.01% of researchers per year (based on confirmed cases of misconduct in federally funded research) to as high as 1% of researchers per year (based on self-reports of misconduct on anonymous surveys). There are two main theories about why researchers commit misconduct. career ambitions. The main point is that human reasoning plays a pivotal role in ethical decision-making but there are limits to its ability to solve all ethical dilemmas in a finite amount of time.e. sensitize people to ethical concerns. i. it can have a tremendous impact on research. Misconduct probably results from environmental and individual causes. Consider an analogy with crime: it does not take many murders or rapes in a town to erode the community's sense of trust and increase the community's fear and paranoia. Indeed. the best evidence we have shows that misconduct is a very rare occurrence in research. there are many situations in research that pose genuine ethical dilemmas. To the extent that research environment is an important factor in misconduct. relax. fabrication. The same is true with the most serious crimes in science. The answer to this question depends. seeking guidance through prayer or meditation. you also may believe that most of your colleagues are highly ethical and that there is no ethics problem in research. economically desperate. Will training and education in research ethics help reduce the rate of misconduct in science? It is too early to tell. but ethically significant misdeeds that are classified by the government as 'deviations. Endorsing these methods in this context need not imply that ethical decisions are irrational or that these other methods should be used only as a last resort. Indeed. or psychologically disturbed commit misconduct. No one is accusing you of acting unethically. a course in research ethics is likely to help people get a better understanding of these stresses. In any case. it would be useful to have more data on this topic. even if misconduct is rare. Moreover." one might argue. i. See Shamoo and Resnik (2009). You would never fabricate or falsify data or plagiarize. Only researchers who are morally corrupt. only a fool would commit misconduct because science's peer review system and selfcorrecting mechanisms will eventually catch those who try to cheat the system. and plagiarism. then it may be appropriate to consider others ways of making the decision. most of the crimes committed in science probably are not tantamount to murder or rape. such as going with one's gut feeling. and poor oversight of researchers. misconduct occurs because various institutional pressures. poor supervision of students and trainees.
Resnik. so what's wrong with using ghostwriters in research? Another example where there may be some ignorance or mistaken traditions is conflicts of interest in research. For example. what could be wrong with that? That's just the way it's done.govhttp://www. one might argue.nih. 1 Print version: page 56 Not that long ago. tools.nih. Maybe a physician thinks that it is perfectly appropriate to receive a $300 finder’s fee for referring patients into a clinical trial.D. JD.niehs. Vol 34. such as accepting stock or a consulting fee from a drug company that sponsors her research. Ph.nih. some unethical authorship practices probably reflect years of tradition in the research community that have not been questioned seriously until recently. what's wrong about this practice? Ghost writers help write all sorts of books these days. principles. and methods that can be useful in resolving these dilemmas. David B. No. training in research ethics should be able to help researchers grapple with ethical dilemmas by introducing researchers to important concepts. By DEBORAH SMITH Monitor Staff January 2003. raises no serious ethical issues. academicians were often cautious about airing the ethical dilemmas they faced in their research and academic work. (http://www. cfm) Bioethicist and NIEHS IRB Chair Tel (919) 541-5658 Fax (919) 541-9854 resnikd@niehs. but that environment is changing today. Psychologists in . If "deviations" from ethical conduct occur in research as a result of ignorance or a failure to reflect critically on problematic traditions.niehs.morally weak. the issues have become so important that the NIH and NSF have mandated training in research ethics for graduate students. or insensitive are placed in stressful or imperfect environments. If a drug company uses ghostwriters to write papers "authored" by its physicianemployees. even if he does not make a significant contribution. Or perhaps a university administrator sees no ethical problem in taking a large gift with strings attached from a pharmaceutical company. ignorant. In fact.gov/research/resources/bioethics/bioethicist. then a course in research ethics may help reduce the rate of serious deviations by improving the researcher's understanding of ethics and by sensitizing him or her to the issues. A researcher may think that a "normal" or "traditional" financial relationship. Finally.gov Five principles for research ethics Cover your bases with these ethical strategies. If the director of a lab is named as an author on every paper that comes from his lab. a course in research ethics is useful in helping to prevent deviations from norms even if it does not prevent misconduct. In any case. Many of the deviations that occur in research may occur because researchers simple do not know or have never thought seriously about some of the ethical norms of research.
" says the 2002 code." When researchers and students put such understandings in writing. JD. Indeed. We frequently see that in authorship-type situations. . The process allows students and faculty to more easily talk about research responsibility.academe are more likely to seek out the advice of their colleagues on issues ranging from supervising graduate students to how to handle sensitive research data. often supervise students they also teach and have to sort out authorship issues." he explains. "Minor contributions to the research or to the writing for publications are acknowledged appropriately. does not justify authorship credit. of the University of Minnesota. Discuss intellectual property frankly Academe's competitive "publish-or-perish" mindset can be a recipe for trouble when it comes to who gets credit for authorship." she explains. In many instances. says his psychology department has instituted a procedure to avoid murky authorship issues. just to name a few. PhD. In the same vein. "People don't want to appear to be greedy or presumptuous. both parties genuinely believe they're right." APA's Ethics Code stipulates that psychologists take credit only for work they have actually performed or to which they have substantially contributed and that publication credit should accurately reflect the relative contributions: "Mere possession of an institutional position. If they contribute substantively to the conceptualization. "There has been a real change in the last 10 years in people talking more frequently and more openly about ethical dilemmas of all sorts. Matthew McGue. The best way to avoid disagreements about who should get credit and in what order is to talk about these issues at the beginning of a working relationship. Contributions that are primarily technical don't warrant authorship. "We actually have a formal process here where students make proposals for anything they do on the project. says George Mason University psychologist June Tangney. even though many people often feel uncomfortable about such topics. which often occur because people look at the same situation differently." says APA Ethics Office Director Stephen Behnke. "While authorship should reflect the contribution." APA's 2002 Ethics Code offers some guidance: It specifies that "faculty advisors discuss publication credit with students as early as feasible and throughout the research and publication process as appropriate. Here are five recommendations APA's Science Directorate gives to help researchers steer clear of ethical quandaries: 1. even the best plans can result in disputes. However. advisers should not expect ex-officio authorship on their students' work. PhD. design. "It's almost like talking about money. PhD. they should be listed as authors. distribution and authorship. such as department chair." The same rules apply to students. researchers face an array of ethical requirements: They must meet professional. execution. they have a helpful tool to continually discuss and evaluate contributions as the research progresses. institutional and federal standards for conducting research with human participants." explains Tangney. analysis or interpretation of the research reported. such as in footnotes or in an introductory statement. "we know from social science research that people often overvalue their contributions to a project.
If participation is a course requirement. To be able to answer questions about study authenticity and allow others to reanalyze the results. However. say experts." The 2002 APA Ethics Code requires psychologists to release their data to others who want to verify their conclusions. "The APA Publication Manual Section 8. such as reviewing journal manuscripts or research grants. you can go back. the code also notes that psychologists who request data in these circumstances can only use the shared data for reanalysis. advises University of Minnesota psychologist and researcher Matthew McGue. While it's unlikely reviewers can purge all of the information in an interesting manuscript from their thinking." says Susan Knapp. erratum or by other means. they must obtain a prior written agreement. Koocher. you owe that person a duty of confidentiality and anonymity. They . Don't destroy it. The 2002 Ethics Code also mandates in Standard 8. That notwithstanding. retraction. when recruiting students from your Psychology 101 course to participate in an experiment. But it also notes that many kinds of multiple relationships aren't unethical--as long as they're not reasonably expected to have adverse effects. Psychologists need to be especially cautious that they don't abuse the power differential between themselves and students. be sure to note that in the class syllabus.05 has some general advice on what to retain and suggestions about things to consider in sharing data. For example. "Because if someone charges that you did something wrong.Psychologists should also be cognizant of situations where they have access to confidential ideas or research. Researchers also need to meet their ethical obligations once their research is published: If authors learn of errors that change the interpretation of research findings. authors should archive primary data and accompanying records for at least five years. psychologists should think carefully before entering into multiple relationships with any person or group. it's still unethical to take those ideas without giving credit to the originator. Perhaps one of the most common multiple roles for researchers is being both a mentor and lab supervisor to students they also teach in class. "Store all your data. for any other use. 1998)." he says. APA's deputy publisher. PhD. such as recruiting students or clients as participants in research studies or investigating the effectiveness of a product of a company whose stock they own. for instance. or hearing new ideas during a presentation or informal conversation. PhD. providing a thorough debriefing to enhance students' understanding of the study. be sure to make clear that participation is voluntary." says Gerald P. editor of the journal Ethics and Behavior and co-author of "Ethics in Psychology: Professional Standards and Cases" (Oxford University Press." "It seems simple. but this can be a tricky area.04b that students be given equitable alternatives to participating in research. Be conscious of multiple roles APA's Ethics Code says psychologists should avoid relationships that could reasonably impair their professional performance or could exploit or harm others. "If you are a grant reviewer or a journal manuscript reviewer [who] sees someone's research [that] hasn't been published yet. and ensure that participation has educative value by. provided that participants' confidentiality can be protected and as long as legal rights concerning proprietary data don't preclude their release. they are ethically obligated to promptly correct the errors in a correction. 2.
"The federal standard is that the person must have all of the information that might reasonably influence their willingness to participate in a form that they can understand and comprehend. includes specific mandates for researchers who conduct experimental treatment research. services that will or will not be available to the control groups. dean of Simmons College's School for Health Studies. including meeting times." That's why experts also recommend that supervisors set up timely and specific methods to give students feedback and keep a record of the supervision. how participants will be assigned to treatments and . Participants' rights to decline to participate and to withdraw from the research once it has started. 3. such as data coding. Incentives for participation. Specifically. APA's Ethics Code mandates that psychologists who conduct research should inform participants about: * * * * * * * The purpose of the research. the consent process ensures that individuals are voluntarily participating in the research with full knowledge of relevant risks and benefits. disposal. use their clout as professors to coerce students into taking on additional research duties. "While that's the ideal situation. issues discussed and duties assigned. Any prospective research benefits. they must inform individuals about the experimental nature of the treatment. "Part of it is not having foresight up front of how a project or research study is going to unfold. which goes into effect on June 1 this year. If psychologists do find that they are in potentially harmful multiple relationships. emphasizing that their involvement is voluntary and discussing treatment alternatives.shouldn't. both parties can avoid misunderstandings. Limits of confidentiality. such as potential risks. Experts also suggest covering the likelihood. says George Mason University's Tangney. Who participants can contact with questions. as well as the anticipated consequences of doing so. Follow informed-consent rules When done properly." she notes. expected duration and procedures. Reasonably foreseeable factors that may influence their willingness to participate. and when confidentiality must be broken. for example." says Koocher. they are ethically mandated to take steps to resolve them in the best interest of the person or group while complying with the Ethics Code. sharing and archiving. magnitude and duration of harm or benefit of participation. By outlining the nature and structure of the supervisory relationship before supervision or mentoring begins. Keep in mind that the 2002 Ethics Code. It's helpful to create a written agreement that includes both parties' responsibilities as well as authorship considerations. in practice we do a lot less of that than we ought to. intensity of the supervision and other key aspects of the job. if relevant to the research. discomfort or adverse effects.
writes Susan Folkman. in "Ethics in Research with Human Participants" (APA. recording spontaneous behavior or the use of a confederate--they should be sure to offer a full debriefing after data collection and provide people with an opportunity to reiterate their consent. and for which confidentiality is protected. PhD. curricula or classroom management methods conducted in educational settings. For example. employability or reputation. psychologists should be careful when recruiting participants for a study. many privacy issues are idiosyncratic to the research population. Remember that a signed consent form doesn't mean the informing process can be glossed over. available treatment alternatives and compensation or monetary costs of participation (see What you need to know about the new code)." 4. naturalistic observations or archival research for which disclosure of responses would not place participants at risk of criminal or civil liability or damage their financial standing. However.control groups. says Sangeeta Panicker. The code also says psychologists should make reasonable efforts to avoid offering "excessive or inappropriate financial or other inducements for research participation when such inducements are likely to coerce participation. For instance. if they're interested. say experts. * If psychologists are precluded from obtaining full consent at the beginning--for example. director of the APA Science Directorate's Research Ethics Office. Respect confidentiality and privacy Upholding individuals' rights to confidentiality and privacy is a central tenet of every psychologist's work. it's inappropriate to obtain contact information of members of a support group to solicit their participation in research. you could give your colleague who facilitates the group a letter to distribute that explains your research study and provides a way for individuals to contact you. PhD. In fact. minors or people with cognitive disabilities--then the person who's giving permission must have access to that same information. or when the research would not reasonably be expected to distress or harm participants and involves one of the following: * * The study of normal educational practices. Other steps researchers should take include: . And because research participants have the freedom to choose how much information about themselves they will reveal and under what circumstances. The study of factors related to job or organization effectiveness conducted in organizational settings for which there is no risk to participants' employability. That could mean they provide a set of increasingly detailed interview questions so that participants can stop if they feel uncomfortable. the 2002 APA Ethics Code says psychologists can skip informed consent in two instances only: When permitted by law or federal or institutional regulations. advise experts. and confidentiality is protected. Anonymous questionnaires. says Koocher. researchers need to devise ways to ask whether participants are willing to talk about sensitive topics without putting them in awkward situations. If research participants or clients are not competent to evaluate the risks and benefits of participation themselves--for example. 2000). if the protocol includes deception. However. say ethics experts.
it would be unethical to do so. psychologists need to be technologically savvy to conduct research online and cautious when exchanging confidential information electronically. while most states only require licensed psychologists to comply with mandatory reporting laws. For instance.* Discuss the limits of confidentiality. what will be done with case materials. That's why it's important for researchers to plan for situations in which they may learn of such reportable offenses. Otherwise. PhD. psychologists should use established techniques when possible to protect confiden-tiality. be aware of situations where confidentiality could inadvertently be breached. If researchers plan to share their data with others. and consider stripping them of identifying information. * Take practical security measures. . Think about data sharing before research begins. Tap into ethics resources One of the best ways researchers can avoid and resolve ethical dilemmas is to know both what their ethical obligations are and what resources are available to them. Those basics include: * The Belmont Report. and secure their consent. "Researchers can help themselves make ethical issues salient by reminding themselves of the basic underpinnings of research and professional ethics. Understand the limits of the Internet. Since Web technology is constantly evolving. research psychologists can consult with a clinician or their institution's legal department to decide the best course of action. researchers could have difficulty sharing sensitive data they've collected in a study of adults with serious mental illnesses because they failed to ask participants for permission to share the data. but unless a researcher asked permission back then to share videotapes. especially if your data include video or audio recordings or can be linked to larger databases. Know federal and state law. such as having confidential conversations in a room that's not soundproof or putting participants' names on bills paid by accounting departments. get the help of someone who is. the Goals 2000: Education Act of 1994 prohibits asking children about religion. Generally." says Merry Bullock. associate executive director in APA's Science Directorate. specifying how they will be shared and whether data will be anonymous." says Bullock. Or developmental data collected on videotape may be a valuable resource for sharing. sex or family life without parental permission. such as coding data to hide identities. some laws also require researchers to report abuse and neglect. it may be possible for others to tap into data that you thought was properly protected. "But be aware that it may be almost impossible to entirely cloak identity. if feasible. Also. Know the ins and outs of state and federal law that might apply to your research. If you're not a Internet whiz. * Another example is that. * * 5. Give participants information about how their data will be used. the report provided the ethical framework for ensuing human participant research regulations and still serves as the basis for human participant protection legislation (see Further Reading). For example. Be sure confidential records are stored in a secure area with limited access. When sharing. they should note that in the consent process. photos and audio and video recordings. Released by the National Commission for the Protection of Human Subjects of Biomedical and Behavioral Research in 1979.
thinking positively about your interactions with an IRB can help smooth the process for both researchers and the IRBs reviewing their work. DC: American Psychological Association. Association for the Accreditation of Human Research Protection Programs Web site: www. Ethics in research with human participants.gov. despite the sometimes tense relationship researchers can have with their institutional review boards (IRBs).gov. Ethical principles of psychologists and code of conduct. available at www. Web site: APA Science. But psychologists must first give their IRBs the information they need to properly understand a research proposal. NIH Bioethics Resources Web site: www. "Human Participants Protections Education for Research Teams. Sales.org.hhs.nih. such as the consent process.org/ethics. 57(12).).D. says Panicker.dhhs. ON THE WEB * * * * * * * RELATED ARTICLES Value of ethics in research B." says Bullock. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) offers an online tutorial. which offers general principles and specific guidance for research activities. says Panicker. FURTHER READING * * American Psychological Association. American Psychologist.S. B.apa. (2000). & Folkman.ori. Washington. .osophs. e-mail. the better educated its members will become about behavioral research. "The more information you give your IRB.htm.. and the easier it will be for them to facilitate your research.nih." As cliché as it may be. Moreover. how participants will be recruited and how confidential information will be protected. (2002).nci.aahrpp.gov/humansubjects/guidance/belmont.gov/sigs/bioethics/index. "Be sure to provide the IRB with detailed and comprehensive information about the study. The 1979 Belmont Report on protecting human subjects is at http://ohrp. WARRIER The basic tenet which we should honour is that our behaviour should never violate principles of integrity.* APA's Ethics Code. these groups can often help researchers think about how to address potential dilemmas before projects begin.html. APA's Research Ethics Office in the Science Directorate. DHHS Office of Human Research Protections Web site: http://ohrp. The Department of Health and Human Services' (DHHS) Office of Research Integrity Web site: www. (Eds.osophs.gov.dhhs. S." at http://cme.
should never violate principles of integrity. The objective of our research should not be amassing illegal wealth of any kind. We should not publish any personal data without their permission. We should never attempt to mislead them. A medical researcher should never disclose the health information relating to a patient without his consent. Keep them confidential. That was an instance of an unethical and outrageous experiment on human beings.“Relativity applies to physics. The scandal became public only in 1972. or any form of intellectual property right. we may have to gather data on diverse aspects of people. a system of ethics built on this basis would be sufficient only for a herd of cattle. There is no room for negligence or indifference. “The ideals which have always shone before me and filled me with the joy of living are goodness. Communication to other researchers in the same field should be honest. and not cooked up or fabricated. which we should shun with all our might? The basic tenet which we should honour is that our professional behaviour with other researchers. patent. Give due credit whenever you use material from others. But we should know fairly well the norms of ethics in research. The test results should be real. In research in the discipline of social sciences. We should not violate any copyright. Never do anything that may damage your credibility. Further. To make a goal of comfort or happiness has never appealed to me. Human dignity should be respected at all times. We should be totally free from bias or wishful thinking. We should tell them beforehand the purpose of our study. past or present. beauty. What all would amount to unethical acts. Persistence will help us to try again and again enthusiastically despite temporary setbacks. We have to protect their privacy. Many of them lost the honour and prestige they built through hard work for several years. we should be honest to ourselves when we analyse data. Research on animals should be limited to properly designed experiments honouring principles of ethical handling. The great German philosopher Immanuel Kant (1724 –1804) said. They may even share purely private and personal information with us. A research scholar should never even dream of resorting to any unethical act. Never use someone else's unpublished data without his permission. Healthy criticism should not deter us from continued effort. Whatever we do in research should be with extreme care and attention. not ethics”. Never disclose the secrets of your organisation or unpublished data belonging to others. He also said. . especially while dealing with vulnerable population.S. The studies should be transparent. You might have heard of the notorious Tuskegee study of untreated syphilis in black males in the 1930s held in Alabama in the U.There are innumerable instances where dishonest means have been adopted by intellectuals of distinction.” Listening to these great men is quite fine. Our research findings should be the product of our original work of a genuine nature. “In law a man is guilty when he violates the rights of others.” This may be read along with the pithy statement of Dr Einstein . Achieving personal glory through deceit would never give us peace of mind. In ethics he is guilty if he only thinks of doing so. We should have an open mind while discussing our work with others in the field. We should keep our word. and truth. as also the way in which data pertaining to them would be used by us.
In 1912. He claimed that there would be no rejection in his method. It may be unethical if he is totally blind to the harmful effects of insecticides on farmers' health. an Austrian scientist brought forth his ‘Lamarckian inheritance'. The machine was a fraud. Dr. . He committed suicide perhaps because of the humiliation. William Summerlin. who have come forward with deceptive findings based on forgery or fabricated data. Black ink had been secretly injected into the hind legs of the toads. A perpetual motion machine claimed to have been invented by Charles Redheffer drew large crowds in a paid exhibition in New York in 1813. Cells cultivated from such embryos. Charles Dawson and Arthur Smith Woodward produced fragments of the skull of the so-called Piltdown Man. called stem cells. He was exposed. making new human embryos from single adult cells. claimed to be discovered by workmen in gravel pits in Sussex.1926). used a marker pen to make black patches of fur on white mice in an attempt to prove his new skin graft technique. You must have heard about the shame and tragedy that gripped the South Korean biomedical scientist Hwang Woo Suk of stem cells fame.Researchers in different fields may look at the same problem from different angles. hoping that the publishers may not discover the trick. A supervisor should give genuine guidance safeguarding the best interest of the research fellow. who sprung up as a national hero and then rose to international stardom. Perhaps the second aspect may be highlighted by an environmentalist or a researcher in ecology and public health. Another story relates to “painting the mice”. the 500-year-old lower jaw of an orangutan. He claimed to have proved that organisms may acquire characteristics and pass them to their offspring. It was made out of a medieval human skull. His experiments with toads were a fabrication. We should not publish the same material in the same form in two journals. They represent an ominous weakening of the norm of scientific truthfulness. Hwang's lab was the only one in the world that claimed remarkable breakthroughs in cloning human cells. It was after forty years that Piltdown Man was shown to be a composite forgery. Such efforts that do not fall in the category of genuine research should be shunned. a top-ranking transplantation immunologist at Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York. Better crops should not be accompanied by sick farmers. Hwang had to resign from his Seoul National University in March 2006 and apologise for his actions. They suggested that Piltdown man represented an evolutionary missing link between ape and man. and desist from any attempt to exploit him. could be crucial for studying diseases and medical treatment. Paul Kammerer (1880 . But he appeared on the front pages of newspapers. For example evolving more effective methods of using insecticides for enhancing agricultural output may be viewed from a purely technical standpoint by an agricultural scientist. Tricksters There have been tricksters in search of name and fame as scientists. His research papers appeared in the prestigious ‘Science' journal. and chimpanzee fossil teeth. not as a discoverer but as a perpetrator of fraud. There is another incident involving two British scientists. In 1974. Later on his claims were found to be fraudulent. The expression “painting the mice” has come to mean fraud in research.
Moral These real stories have been related to establish the priceless value of ethics in research. . Later on it was found that he had buried the artifacts and later on dug them up and presented as old treasures.” Jan Henrik Schön. “I had been tempted by the devil. Deliberate misrepresentation of an inference and its perpetration will certainly land the fraudulent person in trouble. a euphemism for taking wrong shortcuts or deliberate distortion of evidence. published a dozen papers on his discoveries in advanced electronics in journals including Nature at the turn of the century.Shinichi Fujimura. Exaggeration of a result. he bowed his head in shame and said. a young researcher at Bell Laboratories.000 years or more. Honesty is the best policy in research as well. will have the same fate. ‘Cutting corners'. In a public appearance. born in1950. is as unhealthy as falsification of data or experiments. disregarding counter-evidence. a Japanese archaeologist earned fame by claiming to have dug up stones backing up to 500. The findings were later on found to be a hoax.
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
We've moved you to where you read on your other device.
Get the full title to continue reading from where you left off, or restart the preview.