Whereas professionals from medical care have the Hippocratic oath and researchers on human have the Nuremberg code for ethics to subscribe to, there are no such guidelines for people in sciences. The 2nd World Conference on Research Integrity in Singapore took place at the end of July this year. The output of this meeting gathering more than 300 individuals from 51 countries is the Singapore Statement on Research Integrity released on September 22.
The puprose of this statement is adressed as follows:
Publication of the Singapore Statement on Research Integrity is intended to challenge governments, organizations and researchers to develop more comprehensive standards, codes and policies to promote research integrity both locally and on a global basis.
The principles and responsibilities summarized in the Statement provide a foundation for more expansive and specific guidance worldwide. Its publication and dissemination are intended to make it easier for others to provide the leadership needed to promote integrity in research on a global basis, with a common approach to the fundamental elements of responsible research practice.
The Statement is applicable to anyone who does research, to any organization that sponsors research and to any country that uses research results in decision-making. Good research practices are expected of all researchers: government, corporate and academic. To view and download copies of the Statement, click on the links to the right.
It is constituted by 14 sections and defines 4 main principles:
- "Honesty in all aspects of research";
- "Accountability in the conduct of research";
- "Professional courtesy and fairness in working with others";
- "Good stewardship of research on behalf of others".
The 14 short guidelines coming in the section Responsibilities constitute a framework for the global research community. It encompasses the 3 main offenses defining research misconduct in general (plagiarism, falsification, fabrication) and goes far beyond.
You can download the statement from the dedicated web page.
In my opinion, even if it is not a regulatory document, this framework constitues a very important step forward a global ethics in sciences. I qtrongly encourage you to read it and comment it to improve it. And of course: spread the word! The value and benefits of research are vitally dependent on the integrity of research.