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A Useful Report on the Responsible Conduct of Research

The Council of Graduate Schools (CGS) has issued a new report on the responsible conduct of research (RCR) and how to teach it in graduate programs. Research and Scholarly Integrity in Graduate Education: A Comprehensive Approach, summarizes CGS’s Project for Scholarly Integrity (PSI), which was funded by the United States Office of Research Integrity.


The report describes “model programs” developed at six graduate
schools–Columbia University, Emory University, Michigan State
University, Pennsylvania State University, the University of Alabama at
Birmingham, and the University of Arizona–in conjunction with PSI, to
provide students with “the knowledge and skills they need to conduct the
highest quality research and advising needed to secure the continued
public trust in American scholarship and to prepare future generations
of scholars.” The goal of the project is to “embed RCR into the fabric
of U.S. graduate education” so that it is “not merely seen as a
perfunctory add-on or mere compliance requirement.” It is only then, the
report’s introduction says, “will we begin to make real progress on the
broader issues that lead to misbehavior and misconduct in research.”

While
intended as a guide for graduate schools aiming to develop
“comprehensive” RCR training programs, parts of the book can be usefully
read by scientists and science trainees who wish to obtain a quick
grounding in RCR issues. Specifically, in the introduction, “Terms and
Definitions” (starting on page xvi) provides a quick primer on
fundamentals and vocabulary: What are the nine “core areas” of RCR? How
is “research misconduct” defined? What is “research ethics” and how does
it differ from “research integrity”?

For those who wish to read
further, Appendix F provides many pages of references to books, journal
articles, and online resources.

Research and Scholarly
Integrity in Graduate Education: A Comprehensive Approach
can be ordered
from CGS’s online store. The cost is $30 for non-members.