Survey of ethical issues in dental research

J Dent Res. 1996 Feb;75(2):845-55. doi: 10.1177/00220345960750021901.


The American Association for Dental Research (AADR) surveyed its leaders to determine their perceptions of the prevalence of problematic research practices and the possible roles AADR should play in promoting scientific integrity. Seventy-six of the 98 program chairs and Association officers (1990-1995) surveyed responded. In general, these respondents did not think that serious misconduct or sloppy science occurred more often in AADR than in other scientific disciplines. Overall, respondents rated practices that undermine the trustworthiness of science (falsifying or fabrication of research data, retaliation, failure to present negative results, failure to disclose involvement with commercial enterprises, failure to maintain research records, etc.) as more serious, but less prevalent, than practices considered disrespectful of the work of others (gift authorship, citing sources without reading them, dividing a project into many small units, etc.). All respondents said that they had observed each of the less serious problematic practices one or more times, whereas 10% reported having observed retaliation, 30% reported having observed falsification, and 54% reported having observed plagiarism one or more times. AADR leaders had observed many more instances of misconduct and other problematic research practices than had faculty surveyed by Swazey et al. (1993), supporting conclusions by Greenberg and Goldberg (1994) that status and years of experience are associated with more frequent observations of misconduct. With respect to the possible roles the AADR might play in promoting research integrity, 88% thought that AADR should develop ethics cases and materials for educational use, 78% thought that AADR should create a process for addressing allegations of misconduct, 72% thought that the Association should develop an ethics committee or consultation service, 55% thought it should create a yearly ethics symposium, and 45% thought that the AADR should develop a more specific code of ethics to complement the general code recently developed by the IADR.

MeSH terms

  • Administrative Personnel
  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Biomedical Research
  • Codes of Ethics
  • Dental Research* / organization & administration
  • Dental Research* / standards
  • Education, Dental
  • Ethics, Dental*
  • Female
  • Fraud
  • Humans
  • Interprofessional Relations
  • Leadership
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Plagiarism
  • Prevalence
  • Professional Competence
  • Professional Role
  • Societies, Dental
  • Societies, Scientific
  • Specialties, Dental