The National Academies Will Revisit Responsible Science

Along with its countless studies on various scientific questions that can help inform policy, The National Academies‘ various units address scientific conduct from time to time.  Most recently they issued a third edition of On Being a Scientist, which addresses ethical and other professional research conduct from the perspective of the individual scientist.  Other reports have focused on specific aspects of research conduct, from human subjects protection to research data.

One report that was overdue for a revisit is Responsible Science, a two volume report issued in 1992-3.  While some overlap with On Being a Scientist is unavoidable, Responsible Science is more focused on processes, procedures and institutions.  The collection of papers and policies on ethical conduct in Volume 2 is a useful resource, one I hope research agencies took advantage of when developing their scientific integrity policies (though I suspect that happened in the rarest of instances).  The 1992 report

Earlier this week a study committee met at the National Academies to start work on a revision of Responsible Research.  The public session was relatively straightforward for an Academies study (I worked at the Academies in the first half of the last decade).  Study sponsors (Office of Research Integrity at the Health and Human Services Department, the Energy Department’s Office of Science, the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, The U.S. Geological Survey, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the National Science Foundation Office of the Inspector General).  The study is charged with addressing the following questions (an expanded list of the questions addressed in the 1992 report):

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