Professional Ethics

Bioethics training is a critical component of the BCB graduate program requirements. Every BCB student should carefully read Honor in Science and The Responsible Researcher: Paths and Pitfalls.

It is imperative that every student understand the ethical standards of science and conduct his or her scholarly activities accordingly. Scientists who commit unethical acts, whether from carelessness, ignorance, or malice, quickly lose the respect of the scientific community and may be prevented from receiving funding support. Scientific misconduct includes such activities as:

  • falsification of data, ranging from fabrication to deceptively selective reporting, including the purposeful omission of conflicting data with the intent to falsify results
  • plagiarism…representation of another’s work as one’s own
  • misappropriation of the ideas of others…unauthorized use of privileged information
  • misappropriation of funds or resources for personal gain
  • falsification of one’s credentials.

At ISU, these acts are taken very seriously and constitute “academic misconduct” (ISU Faculty Handbook, Fall 1999). Individuals found guilty of academic misconduct may suffer a variety of penalties, up to and including expulsion from the university.

If a student is aware of a potentially unethical situation, he or she should seek the advice of a trusted professor. Students may also contact the BCB Chair or a member of the BCB Supervisory Committee. All discussions with the Chair and the Supervisory Committee members will be confidential. Alternatively, students may go directly to Associate Vice Provost for Research, who is responsible for investigating charges of academic misconduct on campus. It is very important to protect the rights of the individual whose actions are questioned. Frivolous accusations of misconduct and vicious spreading of rumors are just as unethical as fabrication of data or plagiarism.