A Scientific Integrity Consortium developed a set of recommended principles and best practices that can be used broadly across scientific disciplines as a mechanism for consensus on scientific integrity standards and to better equip scientists to operate in a rapidly changing research environment. The two principles that represent the umbrella under which scientific processes should operate are as follows: (1) Foster a culture of integrity in the scientific process. (2) Evidence-based policy interests may have legitimate roles to play in influencing aspects of the research process, but those roles should not interfere with scientific integrity. The nine best practices for instilling scientific integrity in the implementation of these two overarching principles are (1) Require universal training in robust scientific methods, in the use of appropriate experimental design and statistics, and in responsible research practices for scientists at all levels, with the training content regularly updated and presented by qualified scientists. (2) Strengthen scientific integrity oversight and processes throughout the research continuum with a focus on training in ethics and conduct. (3) Encourage reproducibility of research through transparency. (4) Strive to establish open science as the standard operating procedure throughout the scientific enterprise. (5) Develop and implement educational tools to teach communication skills that uphold scientific integrity. (6) Strive to identify ways to further strengthen the peer review process. (7) Encourage scientific journals to publish unanticipated findings that meet standards of quality and scientific integrity. (8) Seek harmonization and implementation among journals of rapid, consistent, and transparent processes for correction and/or retraction of published papers. (9) Design rigorous and comprehensive evaluation criteria that recognize and reward the highest standards of integrity in scientific research.

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This work was conducted by the Scientific Integrity Consortium, which comprises 4 U.S. government agencies, 3 Canadian government agencies, 11 professional societies, 6 universities and 3 non-profit organizations. IAFNS is a member of the Consortium.

Learn more about IAFNS’s work in Scientific Integrity.