Resources for Teaching Research Ethics
Suggestions for additions and corrections are welcome. Please send them to the TRE project director.
See also the Resource section of the web site.
On this page:
- A short list of useful resources for teaching research ethics
- Essays by the TRE project director, presented annually at the workshop:
- Slides and handouts for the TRE project director's plenary sessions at a recent Teaching Research Ethics Workshop.
- Resources from 2012 TRE:
Moral Reasoning in Scientific Research is a unique 80-page booklet of materials for teaching the responsible conduct of science in college and university science courses. Intended as a teaching aid for science faculty members, the booklet was developed at the Poynter Center for the Study of Ethics and American Institutions at Indiana University-Bloomington as part of the Teaching Research Ethics Annual Workshop. A poll of persons who have used the booklet indicates that it is a valuable resource for teaching the responsible conduct of science.
The materials focus on teaching and assessing moral reasoning, an essential component in ethical decision making. Included are:
- an introduction to our approach;
- instructions on using the materials;
- an essay for students on "Developing a Well-Reasoned Response to a Moral Problem in Scientific Research;" and
- six short (one-to-two page) case studies in research ethics.
Each case study presents a problem in research ethics and is accompanied by a set of "Notes for Discussion and Assessment." The "Notes" provide extensive discussion of the implicit ethical issues and points of conflict, interested parties, consequences, and moral obligations, and includes a checklist for evaluating students' responses to the case. Issues covered include data ownership, plagiarism, whistle blowing, data selection/exclusion, collegial relations, and animal use. Links to the essay "Developing a Well-Reasoned Response to a Moral Problem in Scientific Research;" and the individual cases in PDF format can be found below.
The materials were developed under a grant from the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education by Muriel J. Bebeau, Ph.D., Center for the Study of Ethical Development, University of Minnesota; Kenneth D. Pimple, Ph.D., Poynter Center; Karen M. T. Muskavitch, Ph.D., Biology, Indiana University; David H. Smith, Ph.D., Poynter Center and Religious Studies, Indiana University; and Sandra L. Borden, Poynter Center.
- Moral Reasoning in Scientific Research: Cases for Teaching and Assessment. The whole booklet.
- Developing a Well-Reasoned Response to a Moral Problem in Scientific Research. An essay for students to read prior to case discussion.
- The Jessica Banks Case. Jessica Banks has just earned her Ph.D. and wants to take her lab notebooks when she leaves for her new job. Her lab director, Brian Hayward, objects. She wonders what to do.
- The Charlie West Case. Charlie West, a post-doctoral fellow, is tempted to use in his grant proposal the background section of someone else's grant proposal. (Related to the Diane Archer case.)
- The Diane Archer Case. Professor Diane Archer discovers plagiarized materials in a grant proposal submitted by Charlie West, a post-doctoral fellow she knew when he was a graduate student. (Related to the Charlie West case.)
- The Marty Brown Case. Professor Marty Brown wants to exclude what he sees as anomalous data from a study he is conducting.
- The Bob Bailey Case. Bob Bailey is a graduate student whose work is not going well. He blames his troubles in part on the romantic relationship that has developed between his lab director, Peter Martin, and one of his classmates, Sarah Stern. Bailey is concerned that their relationship is (a) bad for Stern and (b) bad for the lab, and he is considering bringing a complaint to the department chair. In an extension to this case, Bailey brings his complaint to the chair, David O'Donald. The chair dismisses the complaint because the relationship appears to be voluntary; he tells Bailey to get to work.
- The Jenny Ito Case. Graduate student Jenny Ito is instructed by her lab director, Chris Holzer, to apply bacteria to pins inserted in rabbits to test the rate of infection for surgical pins; this is not in the protocol.
- Adventures in Collaborative Research - 6-page script-style case with questions for discussion. Social science (oral history) and interdisciplinary research. Issues include authorship, mentoring, collaborative research, miscommunication, and human subjects research.
- Adventures in Collaborative Research (abridged version) - 3-page abridgement of "Adventures in Collaborative Research" with fewer issues. No questions for discussion.
- The Alex Saunders Case - 5-page script-style case. Classroom-based research with young children. Issues include honesty and obligations, mentorship, and research with young children.
- The Allan Mathers Case - 2-page abridgement of "The Alex Saunders Case" with fewer issues.
- The Cynthia Lee Case - 2-page script-style case. Classroom-based research with elementary school children. Issues include human subjects research and research by graduate students.
- Exercise: Rules - 1-page, 7 step out-of-class exercise to familiarize graduate students (and others) with the rules governing their research.
- Exercise: Report Reviews - 2-page in-class or out-of-class exercise. Quantitative experimental research. Issues include publication practices, outliers, fabrication, falsification, and research oversight (mentoring).
- Exercise: Two-statement icebreaker - 1-page in-class exercise with comments on my use of the exercise. Any kind of research.
- Faculty Responsibilities and Student Rights - 4-page script-style case. Graduate and undergraduate education. Issues include grading, mentoring, and respect.
- The Least You Need to Know about the Rules Governing Human Subjects Research at IU - 2-page information sheet. Briefly describes the Belmont principles, the definition of human subjects research, the three forms of review, and other useful information.
- An Idiosyncratic Array of Information on Research Ethics - 1-page information sheet. Includes information on reporting suspected research misconduct at IU; what to know before making an allegation; useful Web sites; and a short form of "The Ten Most Important Things to Know about Research Ethics."
- The Nexus I Case - 2-page script-style case (unusually heavy on background). Classroom-based research. Issues include collaboration between researchers and elementary schools.
- The Officer Cain Case - 1-page in-class exercise, with suggestions for use. An attempt to highlight differences between consequentialist/utilitarian and deontological/rule-based reasoning.
- The Polly Wells Case - 2-page, script-style case with questions for discussion. Qualitative human subjects research (interviewing). Issues include the differences between gossip, journalism, and sociology; and the rules governing human subjects research.
- Protection of Human Subjects in Non-Biomedical Research: A Tutorial. A 33-page tutorial developed for Indiana University to meet the NIH mandate that human subjects researchers must receive education in the protection of human subjects.
- The ten most important things to know about research ethics. (Earlier versions.)
Role-Play Scenarios for Teaching Responsible Conduct of Research, developed by Michael C. Loui and C.K. Gunsalus
- Animals (RCR Role Plays)
- Authorship (RCR Role Plays)
- Conflict of Interest (RCR Role Plays)
- Hazardous Substances (RCR Role Plays)
- Human Subjects (RCR Role Plays)
- Mentoring (RCR Role Plays)
- Peer Review (RCR Role Plays)
- Whistleblowing Data Management (RCR Role Plays)
- Whistleblowing Professional Relationships (RCR Role Plays)
- Ethics in Mental Health Research - Case Studies (about 50 cases by James DuBois, St. Louis University) and Case Discussion Framework
- Head Transplant: The Truly Disturbing Truly Real Story A 14-minute documentary about neuroscientist Robert White's experiments in keeping disembodied brains alive and transplanting a monkey's head to a different monkey's body.
- Setting Expectations and Resolving Conflict Michigan State University Graduate School. Includes twelve very short video vignettes.
- Stanford Prison Experiment "A Simulation Study of the Psychology of Imprisonment Conducted at Stanford University." A slide show with extensive information on Philip G. Zimbardo's infamous 1971 experiment in social psychology.
- Commission on Research Misconduct. 1995. Integrity and Misconduct in Research: Report of the Commission on Research Integrity. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. See also the report of the review group, below.
- Data Sharing and Access to Publications
- National Institutes of Health (NIH)
- NIH Data Sharing Policy. Links to several NIH statements, notices, and other documents on data sharing, including:
- Final NIH Statement on Sharing Research Data (NOT-OD-03-032) February 26, 2003.
- Data Sharing Regulations/Policy/Guidance Chart for NIH Awards August 30, 2006. "This chart is designed as a quick guide only for the purpose of identifying various data sharing regulation/policy/guidance documents applicable to NIH funding."
- NIH Grants Policy Statement. 2010. 8.2 Availability of Research Results: Publications, Intellectual Property Rights, and Sharing Research Resources (October).
- NIH Sharing Policies and Related Guidance on NIH-Funded Research Resources. Links to several NIH statements, policies, and other documents on sharing research results (publications) and data, including some of the above, and:
- NIH Data Sharing Policy. Links to several NIH statements, notices, and other documents on data sharing, including:
- National Science Foundation (NSF)
- Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide. January 2011. See especially
- Part I. Grant Proposal Guide. II.C.2.j. Special Information and Supplementary Documentation (2nd bullet).
- Part II. Award and Administration Guide. VI.D.4. Dissemination and Sharing of Research Results.
- Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide. January 2011. See especially
- The White House. Office of Management and Budget. 1999. Circular A-110 Revised 11/19/93 As Further Amended 0/30/99. See especially Subpart C - Property Standards - 36 Intangible Property.
- National Institutes of Health (NIH)
- Investigating Research Integrity: Proceedings of the First ORI Research Conference on Research Integrity (2000)
- National Commission for the Protection of Human Subjects of Biomedical and Behavioral Research. 1979. The Belmont Report: Ethical Principles and Guidelines for the Protection of Human Subjects of Research. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare.
- ORI Guidelines for Institutions and Whistleblowers.
- ORI Handbook for Institutional Research Integrity Officers
- ORI Model Policy for Responding to Allegations of Scientific Misconduct (2006)
- RCR instruction mandates A summary of NSF and NIH policies.
- Research Misconduct Policies
- PHS/NIH: 1989. Responsibility of PHS Awardee and Applicant Institutions for Dealing With and Reporting Possible Misconduct in Science [Federal Register 54 (August 8, 1989):32449ff].
- OSTP: 1999. Proposed Federal Policy on Research Misconduct To Protect the Integrity of the Research Record [Federal Register 64 (October 14, 1999):55722ff].
- OSTP: 2000. Federal Policy on Research Misconduct; Preamble for Research Misconduct Policy [Federal Register 65 (December 6, 2000):76260-76264].
- PHS/NIH: 2002. Responsibility of PHS Awardee and Applicant Institutions for Dealing With and Reporting Possible Misconduct in Science
- NSF: 2002. Research Misconduct: Proposed Rule [Federal Register 67 (January 25, 2002):3666-3669]
- NSF: 2002. Research Misconduct: Final Rule [Federal Register 67 (March 18, 2002):11936-11939]
- PHS/NIH: 2005. Public Health Service Policies on Research Misconduct; Final Rule [Federal Register 70 (May 17, 2005):28369ff].
- Review Group on Research Misconduct and Research Integrity. 1999. Report of the Department of Health and Human Services Review Group on Research Misconduct and Research Integrity. Department of Health and Human Services. See also the report of the commission on research integrity, above.
- Steneck, Nicholas H. 2004. RCR Education Resource Bibliography. Office of Research Integrity.
- Steneck, Nicholas H. 2000. Assessing the Integrity of Publicly Funded Research: A Background Report for the November 2000 ORI Research Conference on Research Integrity. Office of Research Integrity.
- Steneck, Nicholas H. 2007. ORI Introduction to the Responsible Conduct of Research. Revised ed. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
This list is far from comprehensive; use Google to search for "research ethics syllabus" and you'll get over 200,000 hits.
- Anthropological Research Design. ANTH 410 2007. Barry Lewis, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
- Case Studies in Research Ethics. PHIL 7570 2008-09. University of Utah.
- Ethics. Astronomy Department, Indiana University Bloomington.
- Ethics in Scientific Research/Scientific Ethics. 2012. Michael Kalichman, Frederick Bonkovsky, Mary Devereaux, and Dena Plemmons, University of California, San Diego.
- Ethics of Human Subject Research. 2005. Holly Taylor, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
- The Ethics of Scientific Research. 2010. Ben Eggleston, University of Kansas.
- Introduction to Research Ethics. PHI 816 2006. Gary Comstock, North Carolina State University.
- Nature and Practice of Scientific Integrity. EPI 827 2010. Terry A. May, Michigan State University.
- Research Ethics. BIMS 7100 2012. University of Virginia School of Medicine.
- Research Ethics. GRAD 721 2011. Douglas MacLean, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
- Research Ethics: Responsibilities to Society, Science, and Self. G601 2010. Kenneth D. Pimple, Indiana University Bloomington.
- Research Ethics and the Dissertation Prospectus. HIS/HOS 503. Angela Creager and John Haldon, Princeton University.
- Research Ethics for the Life Sciences. Neal Stewart and Lannett Edwards, University of Tennessee-Knoxville.
- Responsible Conduct of Research and Related Policy Issues. 2008. Richard Kessin and Jaime S. Rubin, Columbia University.
- American Society of Law, Medicine and Ethics (ASLME) "Where multidisciplinary education improves practice®: a unique resource for attorneys, physicians, nurses, ethicists, educators, students, administrators and other professionals shaping health care for the 21st century."
- Association for Practical and Professional Ethics (APPE) "is committed to encouraging high quality interdisciplinary scholarship and teaching in practical and professional ethics by educators and practitioners who appreciate the theoretical and practical impacts of their subjects."
- Association of Internet Researchers "the top international association for students and scholars in any discipline in the field of Internet studies." See especially the Ethics Guide.
- Bioethics commissions created by U.S. Presidents and the U.S. Congress. The following text is taken from History of Bioethics Commissions (verified May 4, 2012). The links to the commissions' archives are from Former Commissions.
The Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues [created by President Barack Obama in November, 2009] continues the nearly forty-year history of groups established by the president or Congress to provide expert advice on topics related to bioethics. These groups have differed in their composition, methods, and areas of focus, but they have shared a common commitment to the careful examination and analysis of ethical considerations that underlie our nation's activities in science, medicine, and technology.
The National Commission for the Protection of Human Subjects of Biomedical and Behavioral Research (1974-78) is generally viewed as the first national bioethics commission. Established [by Congress] as part of the 1974 National Research Act, the National Commission is best known for the Belmont Report. It identified fundamental principles for research involving human volunteers and was the basis of subsequent federal regulation in this area.
The Presidential Commission for the Study of Ethical Problems in Medicine and Biomedical and Behavioral Research (1978-83), also established by Congress, produced reports on foregoing life-sustaining treatment and access to health care, among other topics. Its 1981 report Defining Death was the basis of the Uniform Determination of Death Act, a model law that was enacted by most U.S. states.
The Advisory Committee on Human Radiation Experiments [ACHRE] (1994-95) was created by President Bill Clinton to investigate human radiation experiments conducted from 1944 -1974 as well as radiation intentionally released into the environment for research purposes. The committee considered the ethical and scientific standards for evaluating these events and provided recommendations aimed at ensuring that similar events could not be repeated.
Since the mid-1990s, each of the past three presidents has established bioethics commissions to explore ethical issues in science, medicine, and technology. The National Bioethics Advisory Commission [NBAC] (1996-2001), created by President Clinton, examined topics including cloning, human stem cell research, and research involving human subjects. President George W. Bush established the President's Council on Bioethics [PCBE] (2001-2009), which issued reports on stem cell research, human enhancement, and reproductive technologies, among other subjects. President Barack Obama created the current commission by Executive Order in November 2009.
In addition to these presidential commissions, many other advisory bodies with mandates related to bioethical issues have existed within Executive Branch departments and agencies. Those groups have similarly aided the federal government's work in ensuring that scientific research and biomedical regulation and policy proceed with awareness of and sensitivity to ethical considerations.
- Bioethics Research Library, Kennedy Institute of Ethics, Georgetown University
- Conflict of Interest Toolkit, Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB)
- CODEX Swedish Research Council. "This website's aim is to give researchers and other interested parties access to and information on the guidelines, ethics codes and laws that regulate and place ethical demands on the research process."
- Collaborative Initiative for Research Ethics (CIRE) "a national and international website for research ethics training for students, researchers, faculty and community health and environmental professionals/advocates in community/environmental health, environmental sciences, engineering and related sciences. Training resources are available here for human subjects training with an emphasis on community-based studies, participatory research and cultural competence and humility training for ethical research with diverse racial and cultural groups."
- Consortium Ethics Program (CEP) the regional health care ethics network in Western Pennsylvania. This premier network educates nurses, physicians, social workers and others from participating health care institutions in the language, methods and literature of health care ethics.
- Ethical Guidelines for Statistical Practice, American Statistical Association
- Ethics CORE (Collaborative Online Resource Environment), National Center for Professional and Reasearch Ethics - "information on best practices in research, ethics instruction and responding to ethical problems that arise in research and professional life."
- ethicsresearch.com (also pedpsych.org and psychethics.com) "Clinical, forensic, and ethics consultation."
- EthicShare "a research and collaboration website designed to help you do research, share, collaborate, and participate in the field of ethics."
- Financial Conflicts of Interest Policies, notices, and more on financial conflicts of interest (CoI) from the perspective of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and National Institutes of Health.
- Foundation for Biomedical Research (FBR) "Educating the public about the essential role of biomedical research in the quest for medical advancements, treatments and cures for both people and animals."
- International Journal of Internet Research Ethics (IJIRE) "the first peer-reviewed online journal, dedicated specifically to cross-disciplinary, cross-cultural research on Internet Research Ethics. All disciplinary perspectives, from those in the arts and humanities, to the social, behavioral, and biomedical sciences, are reflected in the journal."
- Northeast Ethics Education Partnershipis "focused on research ethics training needs for graduate students and faculty in environmental studies, engineering and related sciences."
- National Association for Biomedical Research (NABR) "On behalf of the biomedical research community, the National Association for Biomedical Research advocates for sound public policy in support of ethical and essential animal research."
- Office of Inspector General (OIG), National Science Foundation (NSF) "provides independent oversight of the agency's programs and operations. The office is responsible for promoting efficiency and effectiveness in agency programs and for preventing and detecting fraud, waste, and abuse."
- Office for Human Research Protections (OHRP) "The Office for Human Research Protections (OHRP) provides leadership in the protection of the rights, welfare, and wellbeing of subjects involved in research conducted or supported by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)."
- Office of Research Integrity (ORI) "oversees and directs Public Health Service (PHS) research integrity activities on behalf of the Secretary of Health and Human Services with the exception of the regulatory research integrity activities of the Food and Drug Administration." See About ORI for informaton on how ORI "carries out its responsibility."
- Online Ethics Center for Engineering and Research (OEC), National Academy of Engineering "provides readily accessible literature and information, case studies and references, and discussion groups on ethics in engineering and science. It focuses on problems that arise in and for the work life of engineers and scientists. It serves practitioners, educators and students, and individuals interested in professional and research ethics."
- OpenSeminar in Research Ethics "a repository of opensource courses in the ethical and responsible conduct of research in the sciences and engineering disciplines."
- Project for Scholarly Integrity (PSI) "an initiative of the Council of Graduate Schools (CGS), seeks to advance the scope and quality of graduate education in the ethical and responsible conduct of research." See especially the PSI online library.
- Public Responsibility in Medicine and Research (PRIM&R) "dedicated to advancing the highest ethical standards in the conduct of research."
- Research Ethics, University of Illinois Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research. "Sites selected for the Research Ethics pages are designed to increase understanding and facilitate the discussion of current ethical issues."
- Responsible Conduct of Research Education Committee (RCREC) "promote[s] high quality teaching and scholarship in research ethics and research ethics education."
- Scientific Responsibility, Human Rights and Law Program (SRHRL), American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) "defending the freedom to engage in scientific inquiry, pioneering the application of science and technology to document human rights violations, promoting responsible research practices, and engaging policy makers and the larger public on the social, ethical and legal implications of advances in science and technology."
- Scientists Center for Animal Welfare (SCAW) "committed to the development, acceptance and implementation of the highest standards for responsible use of animals in science."
- Survival Skills and Ethics Program, University of Pittsburgh "provide[s] individuals in research and related fields with training and resources on many of the 'survival skills' needed to succeed as a professional."
- AAAS-Office of Research Integrity (ORI) Bibliography
- Best Practices for Ensuring Scientific Integrity and Preventing Misconduct, Global Science Forum
- NSF OIG Case Closeout Memoranda A searchable database of memoranda for all of NSF's case investigations for over 20 years; each memorandum provides "a brief description of the matter investigated and its outcome."
- Office of Research Integrity (ORI)
- The Lab: Avoiding Research Misconduct An "interactive movie" in which the user makes "decisions about integrity in research that can have long-term consequences. The simulation addresses Responsible Conduct of Research topics such as avoiding research misconduct, mentorship responsibilities, handling of data, responsible authorship, and questionable research practices." A facilitator's guide is available.
- Responsible Authorship Quick Guide "Detecting commong mistakes and considering dilemmas in responsible authorship."
- Overcoming the Cultural Issues Associated with Plagiarism for International Students, Robert Gordon University
- Responsible Research, Volume 1: Ensuring the Integrity of the Research Process (Executive Summary)
- Responding to Research Wrongdoing: User Friendly Guide
- Science and Engineering Ethics A multi-disciplinary quarterly journal
By special arrangement with Science and Engineering Ethics, we are pleased to make available these articles in .pdf format. The articles are copyrighted by Opragen Publications; institutions wishing to print multiple copies for educational or other purposes should request permission from Opragen Publications, PO Box 54, Guildford, Surrey GU1 2YF, UK; Tel/Fax: +44 1483 560074 firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.opragen.co.uk
- Gunsalus, C.K. 1998. How to blow the whistle and still have a career afterwards Science and Engineering Ethics 4:51-64
- Gunsalus, C.K. 1998. Preventing the need for whistleblowing: Practical advice for university administrators. Science and Engineering Ethics 4:75-94
- Pimple, K.D. 2002. Six domains of research ethics: A heuristic framework for the responsible conduct of research. Science and Engineering Ethics 8:191-205