Ethical principles or norms are guides to help us behave in ways that are morally right. They may be useful in helping us to balance competing values and to analyze ethical dilemmas. Ethical principles outlined in this chapter may be interpreted and applied in different ways as a function of individual and societal experiences and values. At times, even after careful consideration and ethical analysis, the best course of action is not clear. In such situations, you may seek consultation and then rely on your best judgment.
Education about ethics of research and scientific integrity, by reading case analyses and by setting an example, may foster valid and reliable research. Ethical behavior of scientists is important to public trust and to our body of knowledge.
Scientists share the responsibility to:
- communicate that their own and other institutions value responsible conduct of research;
- act on their own values, sense of responsibility, and moral integrity;
- teach research ethics and responsible conduct;
- uphold the policies and procedures for responsible science spelled out by government, professional/scientific societies, journals and institutions; and
- encourage the report of inappropriate behavior and schedule continuing discussions of ethical issues and responsible conduct of research.