Comparison of research quality guidelines in academic and nonacademic environments

JAMA. 1990 Mar 9;263(10):1435-7.


Only 2 medical schools in the United States and Canada of 133 that responded to a survey have policy guidelines that address most of the significant ethical and procedural issues related to misconduct and fraud in biomedical research. Some nonacademic research environments have superior guidelines that offer useful models and deserve examination. Prevention of misconduct and fraud in biomedical research and reporting requires thoughtful, proactive change by academic and clinical institutions. While the causes of misconduct and fraud may be sufficiently complex to engender long debate, the methods for minimizing it are relatively straightforward and start with a clear statement of values and acceptance of responsibility. Otherwise, the failure of the biomedical research community to meet this challenge forthrightly is soon likely to lead to damaging intervention by government agencies and elected officials. The time to act is now.

KIE: A survey of medical schools in the United States and Canada reveals that only two of 133 responding institutions have developed policy guidelines addressing the issues of fraud and misconduct in biomedical research. By contrast, an ongoing study of various nonacademic institutions shows that many have policy and procedure documents that address such issues as the ethical and moral framework for research, institutional responsibility for research done by individuals, and unambiguous standards of ethical conduct for researchers. Nobel discusses the means by which academic institutions can fulfill their ethical, leadership, and perhaps legal responsibilities by establishing research guidelines.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Biomedical Research*
  • Canada
  • Federal Government
  • Government Regulation
  • Research / standards*
  • Schools, Medical*
  • Scientific Misconduct* / statistics & numerical data
  • United States