In 2007, the United States Office for Research Integrity (ORI) published its Introduction to the Responsible Conduct of Research by Professor Nicholas Steneck, a comprehensive and informative overview of research integrity issues. Focused on research integrity in the USA, the book provides an excellent discussion of the varied rules and regulations that aim to promote good research practice and prevent misconduct.
This guidance will obviously be relevant to UK researchers who are undertaking work overseen by the US Office for Research Integrity. But the themes and issues discussed are also of interest to a far wider audience. The book is a valuable tool for promoting discussion of research integrity. It encourages researchers to engage critically with issues of good research practice and high ethical standards, and to consider the wider implications of their work.
Professor Steneck begins by discussing ‘the Rules of the Road’, consolidating the basic guidelines for ‘good research citizenship.’ This provides a summary of the increasing recognition of the need to regulate research involving human subjects following World War II. The overview of the US legal system provides excellent points for analysis for readers interested in comparative law. Steneck organises the piece by considering the ethical and integrity issues present at each stage of a research project, running from planning and execution to methods of review. Each section employs illustrative case studies and extracts from primary sources, concluding with questions to consider for the reader.
The book provides an excellent and accessible overview of research integrity in the US. Steneck analyses the key issues within a philosophical and historical context, drawing on legal sources. He explains not only what the principles and requirements of good practice are but, more importantly, why they are necessary.
The Introduction to the Responsible Conduct of Research is available as a free download from the website of the United States Office for Research Integrity:
Project Officer, UKRIO