In the US (1), Germany (2), Denmark (3) and Great Britain (4) the first initiatives were taken for safeguarding Good Research Practice (GSP) by self regulation in the scientific community. Institutions have been formed in these countries on the federal/national level, with the task to investigate and judge allegations of deceit in science in an adequate way.

The best way to fight deceit in science is prevention.

The American document 'On being a Scientist: Responsible Conduct in Research' (1) focuses on teaching young scientists various aspects of GSP (e.g., data recording, citation, authorship practice) It states “This booklet makes the point that scientific knowledge is defined collectively through discussion and debate”. In this discussion and debate it is also taken for granted as the best approach to reach widespread understanding of GSP. “Group discussion, – whether in seminars, orientations, research setting, or informal settings – can demonstrate how different individuals would react in specific situations, often leading to conclusions that no one would have arrived at individually”. [..] Discussions of issues with a broad range of researchers can demonstrate that research ethics is not a complete and finalized body of knowledge. These issues are still being discussed, explored, and debated”.

As a result we can also observe that the views on GSP in the different countries differ, but it is merely a matter of focus on specific issues, rather than disagreement on the basics. In the German 'Recommendations' is stated: “The conduct of science rests on basic principles valid in all countries and in all scientific disciplines. The first among these is honesty. Honesty is both an ethical principle and the basis for the rules, the details of which differ by discipline of professional conduct in science, i.e., of GSP”.

Although the American and the German approaches (in both countries governed by a considerable number of well-known scientists (5,6) and which consequently enjoy great prestige) are quite similar, we note some difference on emphasis, e.g., more attention is given in the German recommendations than in the American volume to social, professional control among scientists, and rather precise measures are indicated to assure it.

If we come to the point of copyright of popular writings of scientists, it is clear that civil law ruling on intellectual property in the US is rather severe, whereas in the Netherlands probably more relaxed than in any other country.

These differences justify a variegated approach in various countries but rather than again inventing the wheel in the Netherlands, the authors of this Dutch 'manual' on the prevention of deceit in science, decided to prepare for discussion in scientific institutions in the Netherlands, a hybrid of the profound approaches in the US (1) and Germany (2), as it was thought to be best adapted to our culture. The paper approaches scientists and research administrators, with the basic elements of Good Scientific Practice (GSP), but also of what is considered Good Managerial Practice (GMP) in science.

Herewith we thank the National Academy of Sciences USA and the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft for permission to use texts from their documents.

Please note that this paper serves an educational objective and is not for commercial use.
Also is acknowledged the help of Dr. J. Setlow (Brookhaven National Laboratory) to finish the English text and of Mr M.R.J. Hofstede (University Library, Leiden) who assisted in literature research.

1. “On Being A Scientist: Responsible Conduct in Research”, NAS (1995); (

2. “Proposals for Safeguarding Good Scientific Practice”. Recommendations of the Commission on Professional Self-Regulation in Science DFG, January 1998 (

3. “Scientific Dishonesty and Good Scientific Practice”. Danish Medical Research Council; Kobenhavn, 1992

4. “Principles in the Assessment and Conduct of Medical Research and Publishing Results””; (The British) Medical Research Council, London, MRC 1995

5. Phillip A. Griffiths(Chair), Director, Institute for Advanced Study Robert McCormick Adams Secretary Emeritus, Smithsonian Institution
Bruce M. Alberts.President, National Academy of Sciences
Elkan R. Blout Harkness Professor, Department of Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology, Harvard Medical School
Felix E. Browder;University Professor, Department of Mathematics, Rutgers University
David R. Challoner, M.D.Vice President of Health Affairs, University of Florida
Albert F. Cotton. Distinguished Professor of Chemistry. (term ending 6/94)
Ellis B. Cowling. Director, Southern Oxidants Study, School of Forest Resources, North Carolina State University
Bernard N. Fields, M.D.Adele Lehman Professor; Chairman, Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, Harvard Medical School
Alexander H. Flax Senior Fellow, National Academy of Engineering
Ralph E. Gomory.President, Alfred P. Sloan Foundation
Thomas D. Larson. consultant
Mary J. Osborn.Head, Department of Microbiology, University of Connecticut Health Center
C. Kumar N. Patel Vice Chancellor, Research Programs, University of California, Los Angeles. (term ending 6/94)
Phillip A. Sharp. Head, Department of Biology, Center for Cancer Research, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Kenneth I. Shine. President, Institute of Medicine
Robert M. Solow. Institute Professor, Department of Economics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (term ending 6/94)
H. Guyford Stever.Member, Carnegie Commission on Science and Technology (term ending 6/94)
Morris Tanenbaum.Vice President, National Academy of Engineering
Robert M. White. President, National Academy of Engineering
Lawrence E. McCray. Executive Director

6. Professor Dr. Ulrike Beisiegel, Department of internal medicine, Hamburg University
Professor Dr. Johannes Dichgans, Department of Neurology, Tübingen University
Professor Dr. Gerhard Ertl, Fritz Haber-Institut der Max-Planck-Gesellschaft, Berlin
Professor Dr. Siegfried Großmann, Department of Physics, Marburg University
Professor Dr. Bernhard Hirt, Institut Suisse de Recherches Expérimentales sur le Cancer, Epalinges s. Lausanne
Professor Dr. Claude Kordon, INSERM U 159 Neuroendocrinologie, Paris
Professor Lennart Philipson, M.D., Ph.D., Skirball Institute of Biomolecular Medicine, New York University, New York
Professor Dr. Eberhard Schmidt-Aßmann, Institute for German and European Administrative Law, Heidelberg University
Professor Dr. Wolf Singer, Max-Planck-Institute for Brain Research, Frankfurt/Main
Professor Dr. Cornelius Weiss, Department of Chemistry, Leipzig University
Professor Dr. Sabine Werner, Max-Planck-Institute for Biochemistry, Martinsried

–> 1.1 Freedom of Research


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