Ethics and Policy Mini-Features

Over the years, Next Wave has published a considerable collection of essays focusing on ethics and integrity in the scientific workplace. Some of these have focused on case studies and specific questions--we call these mini-features--while others are stand-alone articles exploring a particular issue.

If you've missed any of our past ethics or policy mini-features and articles, no need to worry! You can still access them on Next Wave. In fact, to make it even easier for you, we've compiled this index of our mini-features and select articles, and we will add to this list as we explore new topics in the future.


In our Ethics of Authorship feature, we asked a bench scientist, an ethicist, a journal editor, and an ombudsperson: What factors play a role in deciding the order of authors on a scientific paper? Who should be an author?

The graduate students who wrote for our Learning and Teaching Scientific Ethics mini-feature learned that, as scientists, they should think about the consequences of their actions in the laboratory.

Companies are rapidly becoming a major funding source for academic research labs. But who owns the data? In our University-Industry Collaborations: Whose Data? mini-feature, we discovered that although it seems obvious that this issue should be dealt with at the outset of a research project, the answers are not always predetermined, and there have been cases where companies have applied conditions to the use of data after they have been generated. Read what an assistant general counsel, a former associate dean for graduate studies, and an associate dean for ethics have to say about this issue.

Mentors are important people in your life. They can give you guidance on personal, professional, and technical issues. In our Mentoring Scientists mini-feature, we asked a postdoc, a senior research scientist, a professor, and an NIH official: How do you find a good mentor? Should you seek someone who resembles you, e.g., a female mentor, if you are a woman? Is it appropriate to approach someone who is not in your lab group?

In an ideal world, academics freely share data and reagents. But science is competitive and, at times, researchers withhold materials or data from one another because they fear getting scooped. When is it OK to withhold information? Is it ever acceptable to turn down a request for published data or reagents from another academic scientist? In our Sharing in the Sciences mini-feature, we asked the experts: a postdoc, a foundation representative, an assistant professor, the president of a professional society, Department of Energy officials, and two researchers who have studied this topic.

The number of postdocs in academia is increasing, but how many is too many? In an expanded policy mini-feature, we asked the question: Too Many or Too Few? The Postdoc Production Policy Debate. Not surprisingly, our essayists had strong opinions and didn't hold back. Read what postdocs, principal investigators, academic leaders, workforce analysts, and funders had to say about this contentious issue.

Other Next Wave Ethics Articles:

Find out what an Institute of Medicine committee had to say about teaching and learning scientific ethics in our story, Getting Scientists to "Do the Right Thing". We have been following this story for a while, so check out our previous articles: New Federal Regulations Issued on Ethics Training and Saved by the Bell: Ethics Training Rules Put on Hold.

In Universities as Businesses--FASEB Spring 2001 Policy Conference, university and government administrators, as well as industry executives, debated issues facing today's research institutions and universities, which are beginning to look more and more like companies.

The National Institutes of Health and the Department of Energy held a conference in 2001 to celebrate 10 years of conducting research on the ethical, legal, and social implications of the Human Genome Project, as we reported in our story "A Decade of ELSI Research": Embracing the Past and Gazing into the Future.

What can you do if you suspect that someone in your lab is committing scientific misconduct? Before you blow the whistle, check out the Office of Research Integrity's (ORI's) proposed regulations in our article Protecting Whistleblowers--Tell ORI What You Think!

More resources on research ethics and integrity.

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