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principles of scientific research

As more academic research is being supported under proprietary agreements, researchers and institutions are experiencing the effects of these arrangements on research practices. However, the NSF policy emphasizes “that retention of such rights does not reduce the responsibility of researchers and in-. It is also possible, however, that the contradictory results are themselves incorrect, and this possibility will also be evaluated by the scientists working in the field. See, for example, Mayr (1982, 1988). This is one reason for scientists and research institutions to clarify and strengthen the methods by which they foster responsible research practices. This knowledge is based on explanatory principles whose verifiable consequences can be tested by independent observers. A general rule is that an author must have participated sufficiently in the work to take responsibility for its content and vouch for its validity. See, for example, the proposal by Pigman and Carmichael (1950). Research mentors thus have complex and diverse roles. Although the size of a research group can influence the quality of mentorship, the more important issues are the level of supervision received by trainees, the degree of independence that is appropriate for the trainees' experience and interests, and the allocation of credit for achievements that are accomplished by groups composed of individuals with different status. One author of a historical study of research groups in the chemical and biochemical sciences has observed that the laboratory director or group leader is the primary determinant of a group's practices (Fruton, 1990). N. H. Nie, C. H. Hull, J. G. Jenkins, K. Steinbrenner, and D. H. Bent. As was pointed out in an early Academy report on responsible conduct of research in the. The role of individuals in influencing research practices can vary by research field, institution, or time. The primary basis for recruiting participants should be the scientific goals of … In recent. Plagiarism. The strength of these influences, and the circumstances that may affect them, are not well understood. 4. Part of Springer Nature. But as theories survive more tests, they are regarded with higher levels of confidence. Appropriate recognition for the contributions of junior investigators, postdoctoral fellows, and graduate students is sometimes a source of discontent and unease in the contemporary research environment. Institutional policies have been developed to guide data storage practices in some fields, often stimulated by desires to support the patenting of scientific results and to provide documentation for resolving disputes over patent claims. Studies must often be carried out using “model systems.” In biology, for example, a given phenomenon is examined in only one or a few among millions of organismal species. 12 Scientists who repeatedly or flagrantly deviate from the tradition of sharing become known to their peers and may suffer. Good mentors may be well known and highly regarded within their research communities and institutions. Although the time to the doctorate is increasing, there is some evidence that the magnitude of the increase may be affected by the organization of the cohort chosen for study. 11. 7. Some organizations, such as the American Chemical Society, have adopted policies to address these concerns (ACS, 1986). Scientific research can be guided by a conceptual framework model, or theory that generates questions to be asked or answers to the questions posed ; Theory drives the research question, the use of methods, and the interpretation of results. 6. Practicing scientists are guided by the principles of science and the standard practices of their particular scientific discipline as well as their personal moral principles. Physicist Richard Feynman invoked the informal approach to communicating the basic principles of science in his 1974 commencement address at the California Institute of Technology (Feynman, 1985): [There is an] idea that we all hope you have learned in studying science in school—we never explicitly say what this is, but just hope that you catch on by all the examples of scientific investigation. In part, such errors reflect uncertainties intrinsic to the research process itself —a hypothesis is formulated, an experimental test is devised, and based on the interpretation of the results, the hypothesis is refined, revised, or discarded. Basic Principles of Research By Edmund Lawrence S. Florendo 2. In the last decade, the methods by which research scientists handle, store, and provide access to research data have received increased scrutiny, owing to conflicts, over ownership, such as those described by Nelkin (1984); advances in the methods and technologies that are used to collect, retain, and share data; and the costs of data storage. 22. But political, financial, or other sources of bias can corrupt the process of data selection. A theory is a hypothesis that has gained wide acceptance because it has survived rigorous investigation of its predictions. Such systems are also a source of additional research expense, often borne by individual investigators. Concerns about misconduct in science have raised questions about the roles of research investigators and of institutions in maintaining and providing access to primary data. Also, you can type in a page number and press Enter to go directly to that page in the book. For other discussions on mentorship, see the paper by David Guston in Volume II of this report. Explicit statements of the values and traditions that guide research practice have evolved through the disciplines and have been given in textbooks on scientific methodologies.4 In the past few decades, many scientific and engineering societies representing individual disciplines have also adopted codes of ethics (see Volume II of this report for examples),5 and more recently, a few research institutions have developed guidelines for the conduct of research (see Chapter 6). You're looking at OpenBook,'s online reading room since 1999. The disciplines' abilities to influence research standards are affected by the subjective quality of peer review and the extent to which factors other than disciplinary quality may affect judgments about scientific achievements. Other stipulations include that the material not be passed on to third parties without prior authorization, that the material not be used for proprietary research, or that the donor receive prepublication copies of research publications derived from the material. (pp. Researchers must respect that individuals should It is clear that the specific influence of norms on the development of scientific research practices is simply not known and that further study of key determinants is required, both theoretically and empirically. Even when important variables are accounted for, the interpretation of the experimental results may be incorrect and may lead to an erroneous conclusion. Science changes. In some research fields, for example, concerns are being raised about how the increasing size and diverse composition of research groups affect the quality of the relationship between trainee and mentor. Even in a revolutionary scientific field like molecular biology, students and trainees have learned the basic principles governing judgments made in such standardized procedures as cloning a new gene and determining its sequence. Science encompasses a large body of evidence collected by repeated observations and experiments. For example, some journalists have criticized several prominent scientists, such as Mendel, Newton, and Millikan, because they “cut corners in order to make their theories prevail” (Broad and Wade, 1982, p. 35). Departmental mentorship awards (comparable to teaching or research prizes) can recognize, encourage, and enhance the. But such practices, by today 's standards, would not be acceptable without reporting the justification for omission of recorded data. Students, research associates, and faculty are currently raising various questions about the rights and obligations of trainees. In the best experimental systems, it is common that relatively few variables have been identified and that even fewer can be controlled experimentally. years, the absence of formal statements by research institutions of the principles that should guide research conducted by their members has prompted criticism that scientists and their institutions lack a clearly identifiable means to ensure the integrity of the research process. Until the past decade, scientists, research institutions, and government agencies relied solely on a system of self-regulation based on shared ethical principles and generally accepted research practices to ensure integrity in the research process. Many research groups have found that the best method of resolving authorship questions is to agree on a designation of authors at the outset of the project. Several excellent books on experimental design and statistical methods are available. Alternatively, the inability to obtain the original finding may be documented in a paper by the second investigator as part of a challenge to the original claim. Authorship practices are guided by disciplinary traditions, customary practices within research groups, and professional and journal standards and policies.16 There is general acceptance of the principle that each named author has made a significant intellectual contribution to the paper, even though there remains substantial disagreement over the types of contributions that are judged to be significant. Individual scientists have a fundamental responsibility to ensure that their results are reproducible, that their research is reported thoroughly enough so that results are reproducible, and that significant errors are corrected when they are recognized. Using animals in experiments – research perspectives. Principles of Medical Research Preamble. What counts as good evidence may be more or less well-defined after a new discipline or specialty is formed; however, at revolutionary stages in science, when new theories and techniques are being put forward, when standards have yet to be negotiated, scientists are less certain as to what others may require of them to be deemed competent and convincing. Much has been made of the concept that science is “self-correcting”—that errors, whether honest or products of misconduct, will be exposed in future experiments because scientific truth is founded on the principle that results must be verifiable and reproducible. T. A. Ryan, B. L. Joiner, and B. F. Ryan. The neglect of sound training in a mentor's laboratory will over time compromise the integrity of the research process. Scientific societies and scientific journals, some of which have tens of thousands of members and readers, and the peer review processes used by journals and research sponsors are visible forms of the social organization of the disciplines. The exchange of research data and reagents is ideally governed by principles of collegiality and reciprocity: scientists often distribute reagents with the hope that the recipient will reciprocate in the future, and some give materials out freely with no stipulations attached. Respect confidentiality and privacy. The standards and expectations for behavior exemplified by scientists who are highly regarded for their technical competence or creative insight may have greater influence than the standards of others. Scientific research has provided knowledge and understanding that has freed humankind from the ignorance that once promoted fear, mysticism, superstition, and illness. As members of a professional group, scientists share a set of common values, aspirations, training, and work experiences. For more complete discussions of peer review in the wider context, see, for example, Cole et al. The role of chance in mutation and natural selection is great, and the future directions that evolution may take are essentially impossible to predict. Because scientists and the achievements of science have earned the respect of society at large, the behavior of scientists must accord not only with the expectations of scientific colleagues, but also with those of a larger community. It is a matter of negotiation. View our suggested citation for this chapter. Link research to relevant theory. Do you want to take a quick tour of the OpenBook's features? The increasing duration of the training period in many research fields is another source of concern, particularly when it prolongs the dependent status of the junior investigator. Academic institutions traditionally have relied on their faculty to ensure that appropriate scientific and disciplinary standards are maintained. Reviewers for journals or research agencies receive privileged information and must exert great care to avoid sharing such information with colleagues or allowing it to enter their own work prematurely. But there is uncertainty about the extent to which individual scientists adhere to such norms. More commonly, a somewhat different version of the original experiment, or a revised interpretation of the original result, is published as part of a subsequent report that extends in other ways the initial work. Social scientists may have methods for recording research data that differ from the methods of biologists, and scientists who depend on complex instrumentation may have authorship practices different from those of scientists who work in small groups or carry out field studies. Journal publication, traditionally an important means of sharing information and perspectives among scientists, is also a principal means of establishing a record of achievement in science. are problems with several dimensions.18 Honorary authors reap an inflated list of publications incommensurate with their scientific contributions (Zen, 1988). They allow us to anticipate yet unknown phenomena and thus to focus research on more narrowly defined areas. Share a link to this book page on your preferred social network or via email. This book is designed to introduce doctoral and graduate students to the process of scientific research in the social sciences, business, education, public health, and related disciplines. 13. 23. Importantly, the principle of self-correction does not diminish the responsibilities of the investigator in either area. Theory has enormous power for clarifying understanding of how evolution has occurred and for making sense of detailed data, but its predictive power in this field is very limited. 4. A theory is used to make predictions about future observations. Consequently, we believe that such research would be worthwhile to pursue to build further knowledge about education, and about education policy and practice. Verifiable facts always take precedence. Jump up to the previous page or down to the next one. But the principles that have traditionally characterized scientific inquiry can be difficult to maintain. Advances in computer technology may assist in maintaining and preserving accurate records of research data. For example, in physics the ordering of authors is frequently alphabetical, whereas in the social sciences and other fields, the ordering reflects a descending order of contribution to the described research. In situations where both kinds of influence exist, it is particularly important for scientists to be forthcoming about possible sources of bias in the interpretation of research results. The guidelines often affirm the need for regular, personal interaction between the mentor and the trainee. This topic, in particular, could benefit from further research and systematic discussion to clarify the rights and responsibilities of research investigators, institutions, and sponsors. . In reviewing modern research practices for a range of disciplines, and analyzing factors that could affect the integrity of the research process, the panel focused on the following four areas: Data handling—acquisition, management, and storage; Commonly understood practices operate in each area to promote responsible research conduct; nevertheless, some questionable research practices also occur. (1990). (1990). In others, significant contributions may not receive appropriate recognition. Other problems related to authorship include overspecialization, overemphasis on short-term projects, and the organization of research communication around the “least publishable unit.” In a research system that rewards quantity at the expense of quality and favors speed over attention to detail (the effects of “publish or perish”), scientists who wait until their research data are complete before releasing them for publication may be at a disadvantage. To the extent that the behavior of senior scientists conforms with general expectations for appropriate scientific and disciplinary practice, the research system is coherent and mutually reinforcing. Download preview PDF. For example, the so-called WORM (write once, read many) systems provide a high-density digital storage medium that supplies an ineradicable audit trail and historical record for all entered information (Haas, 1991). Unable to display preview. In the past decade, the societies' codes of ethics—which historically have been exhortations to uphold high standards of professional behavior —have incorporated specific guidelines relevant to authorship practices, data management, training and mentoring, conflict of interest, reporting research findings, treatment of confidential or proprietary information, and addressing error or misconduct. See also Holton (1978). Much of the discussion in this section is derived from a background paper, “Reflections on the Current State of Data and Reagent Exchange Among Biomedical Researchers,” prepared by Robert Weinberg and included in Volume II of this report. 2. Many of our ancestors had to face persecution, even death, from religious and political groups because they dared to advance the notion that … The disciplines have traditionally provided the vital connections between scientific knowledge and its social organization. Some government research institutions and industrial research centers maintain such repositories to safeguard the record of research developments for scientific, historical, proprietary, and national security interests. Moreover, if centralized systems are perceived by scientists as an inappropriate or ineffective form of management or oversight of individual research groups, they simply may not work in an academic environment. To search the entire text of this book, type in your search term here and press Enter. 27. But conflicts are inherent among these principles. This implies that errors will generally not long confound the direction of thinking or experimentation in actively pursued areas of research. Almost no literature exists that evaluates which problems are idiosyncratic and which are systemic. 5. Social attitudes are also having a more direct influence on research practices as science achieves a more prominent and public role in society. Much of the discussion on mentorship is derived from a background paper prepared for the panel by David Guston. For example, if you're doing an experiment, you should report everything that you think might make it invalid—not only what you think is right about it; other causes that could possibly explain your results; and things you thought of that you've eliminated by some other experiment, and how they worked—to make sure the other fellow can tell they have been eliminated. economy; guidance, principles and facilities of optimization of scientific research; preparation of facts, which documenting results of research scientific work (scientific report, article, talk, theses, etc.) Many research investigators store primary data in the laboratories in which the data were initially derived, generally as electronic records or data sheets in laboratory notebooks. Deposition is important for data that cannot be directly printed because of large volume. Ready to take your reading offline? Research scientists are part of a larger human society that has recently experienced profound changes in attitudes about ethics, morality, and accountability in business, the professions, and government. The scientific community in general adheres strongly to this principle, but practical constraints exist as a result of the availability of specialized instrumentation, research materials, and expert personnel. Within those disciplines, practices combine the general with the specific. Students analyse the influence of ethical frameworks on scientific research over time, including but not limited to experimentation on animals. Moreover, the demands of obtaining sufficient resources to maintain a laboratory in the contemporary research environment often separate faculty from their trainees. Thus publication of a scientific report provides an opportunity for the community at large to critique and build on the substance of the report, and serves as one stage at which errors and misinterpretations can be detected and corrected. Both theory and observations are essential components of scientific research. The use of intuition is sometimes used in science (Polanyi & Sen, 2009), and it is probably seen most readily in the process of forming hypotheses. Although some forms of “gift authorship,” in which a designated author made no identifiable contribution to a paper, may be viewed as instances of falsification, authorship disputes more commonly involve unresolved differences of judgment and style. Truly scientific understanding cannot be attained or even pursued effectively when explanations not derived from or tested by the scientific method are accepted. G. E. Box, W. G. Hunter, and J. S. Hunter. When laboratory heads fail to participate in the everyday workings of the laboratory—even for the most beneficent of reasons, such as finding funds to support young investigators—their inattention may harm their trainees' education. These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. An idea that has not yet been sufficiently tested is called a hypothesis. However, perfect conformity with any rele-. The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, Responsible Science: Ensuring the Integrity of the Research Process: Volume I, 2 SCIENTIFIC PRINCIPLES AND RESEARCH PRACTICES, 4 MISCONDUCT IN SCIENCE - INCIDENCE AND SIGNIFICANCE, 5 HANDLING ALLEGATIONS OF MISCONDUCT IN SCIENCE - INSTITUTIONAL RESPONSES AND EXPERIENCE, 6 STEPS TO ENCOURAGE RESPONSIBLE RESEARCH PRACTICES, A: BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES OF PANEL MEMBERS. Mission teams for space probes, oceanographic expeditions, and projects in high-energy physics, for example, all involve large numbers of senior scientists who depend on the long-term functioning of complex equipment. The report catalogued the benefits of data sharing, including maintaining the integrity of the research process by providing independent opportunities for verification, refutation, or refinement of original results and data; promoting new research and the development and testing of new theories; and encouraging appropriate use of empirical data in policy formulation and evaluation. Methods and techniques of experimentation, styles of communicating findings. Clearly, each scientist has a responsibility to foster an environment that en-. The panel defined a mentor as that person directly responsible for the professional development of a research trainee.25 Professional development includes both technical training, such as instruction in the methods of scientific research (e.g., research design, instrument use, and selection of research questions and data), and socialization in basic research practices (e.g., authorship practices and sharing of research data). Another problem of lesser importance, except to the scientists involved, is the order of authors listed on a paper. Examples of events changing scientific thought are legion. But this situation operates only under conditions of freely available information and unconstrained choice —conditions that usually do not exist in academic research groups. Principles for good scientific conduct Principles for Good Scientific Practice: All research carried out at DTU must be of high quality and reliability. Viewed in this context, errors are an integral aspect of progress in attaining scientific knowledge. As science becomes more closely linked to economic and political objectives, the processes by which scientists formulate and adhere to responsible research practices will be subject to increasing public scrutiny. Not logged in See, for example, Rennie (1989) and Cassidy and Shamoo (1989). Centralized data storage is costly in terms of money and space, and it presents logistical problems of cataloguing and retrieving data. In fact, the two tiers are interrelated, and the goals and traditions of science mandate major responsibilities in both areas for individual investigators. We also appreciate the advances in biochemistry and molecular biology that have led to curative drugs, to genetic counseling, and to an unparalleled understanding of structure—function relationships in living organisms. The latter two have acquired more importance in recent times. Scientists traditionally describe the methods used for an experiment, along with appropriate calibrations, instrument types, the number of repeated measurements, and particular conditions that may have led to the omission of some datain the reported version. One mentor has written that his “research group is like an extended family or small tribe, dependent on one another, but led by the mentor, who acts as their consultant, critic, judge, advisor, and scientific father” (Cram, 1989, p. 1). In addition, however, erroneous information can also reach the scientific literature as a consequence of misconduct in science. The result of a two-year study by a panel of experts convened by the National Academy of Sciences, this book critically analyzes the impact of today's research environment on the traditional checks and balances that foster integrity in science. Large laboratories may provide valuable instrumentation and access to unique research skills and resources as well as an opportunity to work in pioneering fields of science. Others have suggested that raw data supporting research reports should be accessible to any critic or competitor, at any time, especially if the research is conducted with public funds. Government agencies have developed specific rules and procedures that directly affect research practices in areas such as laboratory safety, the treatment of human and animal research subjects, and the use of toxic or potentially hazardous substances in research. Scientific theories are also predictive. Currently, academic institutions have very few formal policies and programs in specific areas such as authorship, communication and publication, and training and supervision. Much greater complexity is encountered when an investigator in one research group is unable to confirm the published findings of another. The self-regulatory system that characterizes the research process has evolved from a diverse set of principles, traditions, standards, and customs transmitted from senior scientists, research directors, and department chairs to younger scientists by example, discussion, and informal education. At some level, all scientific reports, even those that mark profound advances, contain errors of fact or interpretation. In principle, properly managed information technologies, utilizing advances in nonerasable optical disk systems, might reinforce openness in scientific research and make primary data more transparent to collaborators and research managers. We look hopefully to the development of life itself and, in concert with social-behavioral scientists, the unraveling of the relationship between mind and brain. Interpretation and speculation regarding the significance of the findings—judgments that depend on expert knowledge, experience, and the insightfulness and boldness of the investigator. Editors often request written assurances that research reported conforms to all appropriate guidelines involving human or animal subjects, materials of human origin, or recombinant DNA. science accommodates, indeed welcomes, new discoveries: its theories change and its activities broaden as new facts come to light or new potentials are recognized. The task of systematizing and extending the understanding of the universe is advanced by eliminating disproved ideas and by formulating new tests of others until one emerges as the most probable explanation for any given observed phenomenon. Commission on Physical Sciences, Mathematics and Resources, National Academy of Sciences, Some research leaders have a custom of including their own names in any paper issuing from their laboratory, although this practice is increasingly discouraged. In all of science, but with unequal emphasis in the several disciplines, inquiry proceeds based on observation and experimentation, the exercising of informed judgment, and the development of theory. Based on feedback from you, our users, we've made some improvements that make it easier than ever to read thousands of publications on our website. This practice seems to.have been abandoned for reasons that are not well understood. Another mentor described as “orphaned graduate students” trainees who had lost their mentors to death, job changes, or in other ways (Sindermann, 1987). Developments in science and scientific methods, however, did not come easily. A fruitful hypothesis may develop into a theory after substantial observational or experimental support has accumulated. Thus personal example and the perceived behavior of role models and leaders in the research community can be powerful stimuli in shaping the research practices of colleagues, associates, and students.

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