U.S. report calls for research integrity board

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Science  14 Apr 2017:
Vol. 356, Issue 6334, pp. 123
DOI: 10.1126/science.356.6334.123

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A report out this week from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine urges the U.S. research community to up its game in both investigating allegations of research misconduct and promoting ethical behavior—or risk having the government act unilaterally. The report's key recommendation is that universities and scientific societies create, operate, and fund a new, independent, nongovernmental Research Integrity Advisory Board. The board would serve as a clearinghouse to raise awareness of the issues, as an honest broker to mediate disagreements, and as a beacon to help institutions that lack the knowledge or resources to root out bad behavior and foster good behavior. Other entities are already doing these things, it says—federal funding agencies investigate and punish miscreants who misuse taxpayer dollars, universities train scientists, and scientific societies and journals have adopted ethical standards for their authors and members—but none has research integrity as its sole focus nor covers so much territory. And all of these organizations need to do a better job.