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Scientific integrity transcends the boundaries of scientific disciplines because it is the responsibility of everyone to foster and promote a culture of scientific integrity. However, issues with scientific integrity continue to be widespread, despite work in this area that has gone on for decades.


In 2017, the timing was right to bring together multiple sectors to agree upon a set of principles and best practices that could be used broadly across all scientific disciplines as a mechanism for enhancing community consensus on scientific integrity standards. The Scientific Integrity Consortium that resulted from that effort represented 4 US and 3 Canadian government agencies, 11 professional societies, 6 universities, and 3 nonprofit scientific organizations and gleaned input from individual sectors and scientific disciplines. Many of the existing efforts are summarized in an open access catalogue that was compiled by International Life Sciences Institute North America and is being updated yearly1 and in a previous document prepared by the American Society for Microbiology.2


Table 1 shows the result of the Consortium's efforts-2 principles and 9 best practices to help strengthen scientific integrity policies that are already in place, to aid in the development of new policies, and to raise the importance of creating a culture in the scientific community that upholds scientific integrity. The entire document elaborating on each of the principles and practices is available free Open Access for download from the journal Science and Engineering Ethics (access at or in the printed journal.3

Table 1 - Click to enlarge in new windowTABLE 1 Principles and Best Practices for Scientific Integrity

Participants in developing the guidelines included representatives from the American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Society for Microbiology, American Heart Association, American Gastroenterological Society, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, American Public Health Association, Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities, American Society for Nutrition, Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Canadian Nutrition Society, Cornell University, Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, Food and Nutrition Board, National Academy of Medicine, Engineering and Sciences, Government-University-Industry Research Roundtable, Indiana University School of Public Health, International Life Sciences Institute North America, International Association for Food Protection, Institute of Food Technologists, National Academies of Science Development, Security, and Cooperation Policy and Global Affairs, National Academies of Science Engineering Center for Ethics and Society, Secretariat on Responsible Conduct of Research on behalf of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, Tufts University, University of British Columbia, University of California, Davis, US Department of Agriculture, US Department of Health and Human Services Office of Research Integrity, US Food and Drug Administration, and the US Environmental Protection Agency.


Opportunities for integrating these principles and best practices into teaching and learning materials, informing policy development in this area, and influencing the development of standards by academic institutions, scientific organizations, and relevant government agencies are now being sought.




1. Kretser A, Murphy D, Dwyer J. Scientific integrity resource guide: efforts by federal agencies, foundations, nonprofit organizations, professional societies, and academia in the United States. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2017;57(1):163-180. doi:10.1080/10408398.2016.1221794. [Context Link]


2. Casadevall A, Ellis LM, Davies EW, McFall-Ngai M, Fang FC. A framework for improving the quality of research in the biological sciences. MBio. 2016;7(4):e01256-e01216. doi:10.1128/mBio.01256-16. [Context Link]


3. Kretser A, et al. Scientific integrity principles and best practices: recommendations form a scientific integrity consortium. Science and Engineering Ethics. 2019;25:327-355. [Context Link]