From the point of view of prevention, of both intentional and unintentional deceit, but also to reduce unjustified allegations, previously unwritten rules have also been recorded in writing to define what is understood to be Good Scientific Practice. This has turned out to be not that easy because traditions among disciplines vary, and it was consequently the result of lengthy discussions among scientists, especially in the US.

The basic principle in all disciplines is honesty towards oneself and towards others.

Secondly it is important to have established what comprises professional scientific practice and what does not, from the point of view of what will be subject to self-regulation within the scientific community and which violations of good conduct are subject to investigation and ruling by civil law.

In the US this problem is still rather confused because Congress always has the right to install a committee of investigation for any subject whatsoever. In a remarkable case (6), which lasted for almost ten years, following investigations by committees of the NIH, the US department of Health and Human Services, it was simultaneously investigated by a Congressional committee, and even the Secret Service became involved in a forensic investigation.

In European countries it is taken for granted that self regulation is to be preferred, under the provision that a violation of integrity is not subject to civil law, and with the notion that some offences in science with respect to honesty will be blamed more strongly in the scientific community than in the society at large. But there is also the notion that judgment among peers should not violate general civil rights such as innocence of the suspect until proof of guilt is established and the possibility of an appeal against a careless verdict.

The problem of divergence among disciplines when rules for GSP are established, is largely met by the recommendation that disciplines and even institutions define their own rules within certain borders, make them known to the members of the specific community and maintain these.

–> 1.4 A short List of Scientific Practices


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