Approaches to academic integrity in medical and health research
In health care and medicine, the focus on humans and their bodies and the complex and potentially conflicting web of personal, professional, and financial relationships between researchers, students, government, and industry create a quite distinctive environment for academic integrity and misconduct. Although the history of medical research and practice is obviously lengthy, descriptions of scientific misconduct and of attempts to control and regulate it are a very short and recent chapter. The backdrop to contemporary efforts to address medical misconduct is the Nuremberg Code, developed in the light of the Nazi medical atrocities during World War II. Despite the wide adoption of the Nuremberg Code and related declarations, research that contravened the code and declarations has continued to occur. Noteworthy examples include the Tuskegee Syphilis Study in the United States and Cervical Cancer Study in New Zealand. Misconduct in the generation, analysis, and dissemination of medical research findings and cases of fabrication and falsification of laboratory-based data have provided some of most egregious examples of contemporary research misconduct. Efforts to manage misconduct have focused on the development of human research ethics guidelines and committees, codes of conduct, and guidelines for publication of scholarly work in medical journals.