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Research Ethics Documents

This page contains important reference texts on scientific integrity, to seminal reports in the history of the development of the ethical principles of scientific research, and to selected federal policies and laws related to research.

Reference texts

On Being a Scientist. Responsible Conduct in Research
A brief introduction to principles of ethical conduct in research, with illustrative examples for discussion.  From the National Academy of Sciences.

Introduction to the Responsible Conduct of Research
By Nicholas Steneck, Ph.D.  An introduction to the nine “core instructional areas” designated by the Office of Research Integrity.  Text may be downloaded or purchased

Historical documents and reports

Nuremberg Code
Directives for human experimentation developed in the trials of war criminals following Worls War II.  (1949)

Declaration of Helsinki
Ethical principles for physicians and participants in medical research involving human subjects.  From the World Medical Association.  (1964)

Belmont Report
This report outlines ethical principles of respect for persons, beneficence, and justice and applies them to research involving human subjects.  It distinguishes between clinical practice and medical research.  From the National (US) Commission for the Protection of Human Subjects. (1979)

Science The Endless Frontier
This landmark report was commissioned by President Roosevelt and delivered to President Truman by Vannevar Bush.  It outlined the importance of scientific research to the national interest and led to the creation of the NIH.  (1945)

Laws and public policies

The Bayh-Dole Act
Officially known as the Patent and Trademark Law Amendment Act of 1980, this bill sought to encourage the development of useful inventions by university scientists by enabling those scientists and their universities to profit financially from research performed using government funds.  (1980)

Peer Review Policy (Office of Management and Budget)
The government’s view of “peer review.” (2004)

PHS Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals
This is the US Public Health Service’s basic policy on the use of animal subjects in research.  The enabling legislation was passed in 1985, the policy was promulgated in 1986, with more recent amendments added.

PHS Policy: Research Misconduct
This is the current rule (updated in 2005) that defines “research misconduct” and specifies institutional responsibility in handling allegations of misconduct. (2005)