STEMskiller: Skill Set Map for Mentors of Early Career Researchers
Responsibility and integrity
Mentors are responsible for introducing their mentees to the key responsibility and integrity concepts that have regulated the scientific endeavor since its inception, often through the ethics statements created by learned societies. Though local contexts often provide their own definitions of responsibility and integrity, as ALLEA (The European Academies) notes in its 2017 European Code of Conduct for Research Integrity Revised Edition, an overarching rationale for having ethical standards in place governing scientists transcends local contexts, according to the US National Academies:
The community of scientists is bound by a set of values, traditions, and standards that embody honesty, integrity, objectivity, and collegiality. These values are reflected in the particular principles and practices characteristic of specific scientific disciplines. The diversity, flexibility, and creativity of the research community…also derive from the decentralized character of the research enterprise.
For centuries scientists have relied on each other, on the self-correcting mechanisms intrinsic to the nature of science, and on the traditions of their community to safeguard the integrity of the research process. This approach has been successful largely because of the widespread acknowledgement that science cannot work otherwise, and also because high standards and reputation are important to scientists. Dishonest or untrustworthy individuals become known to their colleagues through various mechanisms, including word of mouth and the inability of other scientists to confirm the work in question. Such irreproducible work is recognized and discredited through the processes of peer review and evaluation that are critical to making professional appointments, accepting work for publication, and awarding research support.
Public funding for research often assumes researchers will carry out projects according to certain ethical standards. Mentors and mentees should be aware of relevant standards (e.g., Horizon 2020 Ethics Guidelines, referenced below).
 ALLEA (All European Academies). (2017). The European Code of Conduct for Research Integrity Revised Edition. https://ec.europa.eu/info/funding-tenders/opportunities/docs/2021-2027/horizon/guidance/european-code-of-conduct-for-research-integrity_horizon_en.pdf
 National Academy of Sciences (US), National Academy of Engineering (US) and Institute of Medicine (US) Panel on Scientific Responsibility and the Conduct of Research. (1992). Responsible Science: Ensuring the Integrity of the Research Process: Volume I. National Academies Press (US). Executive Summary. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK234514/
Useful resources on Responsibility and integrity:
ALLEA (All European Academies). (2017). The European Code of Conduct for Research Integrity Revised Edition. https://ec.europa.eu/info/funding-tenders/opportunities/docs/2021-2027/horizon/guidance/european-code-of-conduct-for-research-integrity_horizon_en.pdf
Includes principles of research integrity, good research practices, violations of research integrity, and additional resources.
European Commission. (n.d.). Ethics Review (Ethics Screening & Assessment). https://ec.europa.eu/research/participants/docs/h2020-funding-guide/grants/from-evaluation-to-grant-signature/grant-preparation/ethics_review_en.htm
Describes the process used in review ethics for EU research grants (H2020 round) and describes self-assessment, independent review, and possible ethics requirements.
Lauer, M. (2019). Case Studies on Research Integrity. https://youtu.be/ZKwpe77iZws
Video providing case studies, institutional responses, and considerations for institutions and individuals. US-focus but applicable to many other settings.
National Academy of Sciences (US), National Academy of Engineering (US) and Institute of Medicine (US) Panel on Scientific Responsibility and the Conduct of Research. (1992). Responsible Science: Ensuring the Integrity of the Research Process. National Academies Press (US). https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25121265/
Discusses scientific principles and research practices, defines misconduct in science and how institutions can handle allegations of misconduct as well as steps institutions can take to encourage responsible research practices.
Tags: IPS IA; IPS CritT; IPS QL; IPS IL; IPS PS; PSR CE; PSR IKC; PSR ER; PSR LL; PSR GL; CompQ
Peer Review: None
Table of contents:
- 4.5. Social, cultural, and environmental awareness/sustainable development: values, technology in society, and the researcher
4.6. Global engagement
4.8. Understanding risk
Author: Stephanie Krueger
Peer Reviewer(s): None
Last Updated: October 28, 2021