Author: Rachelle Hollander,
Editors: Carol R. Arenberg; National Academy of Engineering

Increasing complexity and competitiveness in research environments, the prevalence of interdisciplinary and international involvement in research projects, and the close coupling of commerce and academia have created an ethically challenging environment for young scientists and engineers. For the past several decades, federal research agencies have supported projects to meet the need for mentoring and ethics training in graduate education in research, often called training in the responsible conduct of research. Recently, these agencies have supported projects to identify ethically problematic behaviors and assess the efficacy of ethics education in addressing them.

With support from the National Science Foundation, the National Academy of Engineering Center for Engineering, Ethics, and Society held the workshop “Ethics Education and Scientific and Engineering Research: What’s Been Learned? What Should Be Done?” on August 25 and 26, 2008.

The workshop, summarized in this volume, discussed the social environment of science and engineering education; the need for ethics education for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows in science and engineering; models for effective programs; and assessment of approaches to ethics education, among other topics.

On Being a Scientist: A Guide to Responsible Conduct in Research

Authors: Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy, National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, and Institute of Medicine

The scientific research enterprise is built on a foundation of trust. Scientists trust that the results reported by others are valid. Society trusts that the results of research reflect an honest attempt by scientists to describe the world accurately and without bias. But this trust will endure only if the scientific community devotes itself to exemplifying and transmitting the values associated with ethical scientific conduct.

On Being a Scientist was designed to supplement the informal lessons in ethics provided by research supervisors and mentors. The book describes the ethical foundations of scientific practices and some of the personal and professional issues that researchers encounter in their work. It applies to all forms of research–whether in academic, industrial, or governmental settings-and to all scientific disciplines.

This third edition of On Being a Scientist reflects developments since the publication of the original edition in 1989 and a second edition in 1995. A continuing feature of this edition is the inclusion of a number of hypothetical scenarios offering guidance in thinking about and discussing these scenarios.

On Being a Scientist is aimed primarily at graduate students and beginning researchers, but its lessons apply to all scientists at all stages of their scientific careers.

Advisor, Teacher, Role Model, Friend on Being a Mentor to Students in Science and Engineering

Authoring Organizations: National Academy of Sciences,
National Academy of Engineering, and Institute of Medicine

This guide offers helpful advice on how teachers, administrators, and career advisers in science and engineering can become better mentors to their students. It starts with the premise that a successful mentor guides students in a variety of ways: by helping them get the most from their educational experience, by introducing them to and making them comfortable with a specific disciplinary culture, and by offering assistance with the search for suitable employment. Other topics covered in the guide include career planning, time management, writing development, and responsible scientific conduct. Also included is a valuable list of bibliographical and Internet resources on mentoring and related topics.

Other Websites

  • EthicsCORE, an NSF-funded site
  • Online Ethics Center, from the Center for Engineering, Ethics and Society, part of the National Academy of Engineering