Teaching scientific integrity and the responsible conduct of research

G. A. Sachs, M. Siegler

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

16 Scopus citations


Since 1990, federal guidelines have required 'instruction about the responsible conduct of research' for science trainees who are supported by certain National Research Service Award (NRSA) training grants. This article reports how one school, The University of Chicago, responded to this requirement by developing a two-year 'scientific integrity' program, targeted for but not limited to trainees on NRSA grants. The program features lectures the first year and seminars the next on a variety of topics related to the responsible conduct of research. This arrangement allows trainees to benefit both from the presentations of important university and outside speakers and from the intimate exchange possible only in smaller group settings. The program is an ongoing course rather than an intensive one- or two-day effort, and is intended not as an effort to reform dishonest persons who are likely to commit outright fraud but to serve the large group of honest trainees by helping them learn the important ethical issues and norms in the practice of good science, recognize areas of ethical conflict in research and scientific training, and understand their own values better. The authors discuss some major structural, procedural, and philosophical questions that had to be faced as the program was developed. They report the difficulties of evaluating such a program but believe that it and programs like it can have a variety of benefits, which they describe, for both the trainees themselves and the larger research community. The authors hope the report of their program will stimulate discussion of the potential benefits of educational programs on the responsible conduct of research and of how universities should respond in developing such programs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)871-875
Number of pages5
JournalAcademic Medicine
Issue number12
StatePublished - 1993
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education

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