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Scientific Integrity, Fourth Edition

Author: Francis L. Macrina1
Affiliations: 1: Virginia Commonwealth University;
Content Type: Textbook
Format: Paperback, Electronic
Publication Year: 2014

Category: General Interest; Best-Selling Textbook

Newly revised textbook presents the core topics for graduate and postdoctoral trainees and professional researchers on the principles of scientific integrity.

  • Contains highly relevant interactive case studies, written by practicing scientists on the front lines of ethical issues.
  • Covers essential topics related to the conduct of scientific investigation, such as guidelines, policies, standards, and codes.
  • Includes discussion questions to promote critical thought.
  • Includes a new appendix on safe laboratory practices.
  • Serves as a textbook for upper-level undergraduates, graduate, and postgraduate students in the biomedical, natural, and behavioral sciences.

For more on the book and information on requesting an examination copy please visit http://www.asmscience.org/instructors

Click here to download free scientific ethics articles from ASM’s Journal of Microbiology & Biology Education (JMBE)!

Book Summary

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 Doody's Review Service

05 February 2015


This introduction to responsible conduct of research discusses the major ethical issues encountered in the research setting, including authorship, subject protection, data integrity, and intellectual property.


Intended to prompt critical thinking about the responsible conduct of research, the book balances discussion of regulatory and legal compliance with reflection on contemporary and enduring ethical challenges. The inclusion of discussion questions and realistic cases supports development of critical thinking skills. In addition to imparting much-desired practical information about compliance, the book encourages active engagement with the ethical issues commonly encountered in the research setting.


With its attention to organization and its highly accessible writing style, this book may be used as a supplement to formal instruction or for self-directed learning. Its comprehensive compilation of resources and appended material recommend it as a reference for researchers, mentors, and instructors. The author has extensive experience conducting research and teaching research integrity.


The book begins with an exploration of the concept of scientific integrity and an overview of the regulatory framework. As the book is oriented at an audience unfamiliar with research regulation, it would benefit from a more extensive introductory treatment of regulatory authority. A chapter is dedicated to a concise discussion of ethical theory as applied to research dilemmas. Subsequent chapters address the major issues encountered in the research setting, contextualizing the descriptions of regulations, laws, and standards with discussions of background information and current controversies.


This book acquaints readers with the current regulatory and ethical framework governing research while guiding sustained reflection on dilemmas confronting those involved in research. Although this edition retains many of the features of earlier editions, such as cases and discussion questions, it has been updated and substantially revised to ensure continued relevancy.

Doody's Review Service

Reviewer: Kayla Kostelecky, JD (Saint Louis University)

Review Date: 2014

©Doody’s Review Service

 Journal of Microbiology and Biology Education (JMBE)

26 January 2015

 Teaching Scientific Ethics Effectively at Any Level

Generally, a full semester of teaching research ethics is not the norm. Therefore, this review evaluated the efficacy of the text as a resource and discussion tool for research mentors and a supplement for those who teach research methods. With the growing demand of content knowledge that needs to be addressed within the classroom, faculty-mentored research projects (undergraduate, graduate, postdoctoral, and collaborative) provide ample opportunities to discuss the ethical responsibility of the researcher. This approach supports Dr. Macrina’s notion that active researchers are the most effective instructors for ethical research practice.

In the fourth edition of Scientific Integrity, Macrina provides more opportunity for self-reflection and personal growth with regard to understanding research ethics, also known as responsible conduct in research (RCR), allowing for rich discussion with colleagues, trainees and protégés. Several topics of critical importance are discussed, including defining RCR, mentoring, authoring, human and animal research, conflicts of interest, interdisciplinary collaborations, data acquisition and intellectual property, record keeping, and the societal impacts of science and technology. The appendices include several useful resources, including sample protocols, links to online resources, how to write a lab notebook and an entirely new section on the promotion of laboratory safety. Additionally, 35% of the end-of-chapter student-case scenarios are new to this edition. Changes within the field of RCR have driven the 30% expansion of this text from the previous edition, specifically expanding the discussions on interprofessional collaborations (Chapter 8) and understanding the impact that research has on society through focusing on translational research agendas (Chapter 11).

Although the text is not directed toward undergraduate research assistants, I believe that the prose and language used are appropriate for undergraduates. The text could be used in self-directed independent readings and discussions with a research mentor, mimicking what should occur for graduate students. One suggestion may be to use a laboratory meeting as a time for professional development, during which the discussion of a scenario or case, or even the interpretation of specific chapters from Macrina’s text could occur. Use of this text should be discussion-focused, as suggested, because online tutorials and impersonal approaches to RCR would further support the stigma that training in research ethics is insignificant.

In more ways than one, this edition of the text is critically important to the active researcher rather than the research instructor. Competency and fluency in the language and goals of RCR are critical at all stages of the research experience, especially now with the increasing focus on interdisciplinary collaboration. This is addressed directly in the text along with concerns of authorship and data ownership. This edition of the text is therefore important for professional development of the budding researcher and the experienced research fellow alike. Each chapter and provided case scenario provokes an interesting reflective conversation on ethical issues and even deep seated moral values. Conversing with peers and colleagues may unveil a spectrum of ethical opinions that can vary drastically from your own, and this text aids those discussions.

Almost 20 years after the first edition was released, Macrina has further established an intriguing approach to discussing scientific misconduct and ways to avoid ethical dilemmas in research. Important concepts within the current state of research have been considered with a broad research audience in mind. The text’s foreword provides helpful hints to instructors (including delivery style, tentative schedule, participants, timeframe, and even a sample instruction model) for a stand-alone class focused on discussing RCR as necessary in a research-intensive institution. Therefore I would highly recommend this text to anyone who either is interested in research ethics, mentors research students, or is slated to teach a course in research methods.

Journal of Microbiology and Biology Education (JMBE)

Vol 15, No 2 (2014)

Reviewer: Melissa A. Carroll, DeSales University, Center Valley, PA

Date: December 2014

 Midwest Book Review 

20 October 2014

 Scientific Integrity: Text and Cases in Responsible Conduct of Research provides the essential content and skill-building tools for teaching the responsible conduct of scientific research. Scientific Integrity covers the breadth of concerns faced by scientists: protection of animal and human experimental subjects, scientific publication, intellectual property, conflict of interest, collaboration, record keeping, mentoring, and the social and ethical responsibilities of scientists. Learning activities and resources designed to elucidate the principles of scientific integrity include: Dozens of highly relevant, interactive case studies for discussion in class or online; Numerous print and online resources covering the newest research guidelines, regulations, mandates and policies; Discussion questions, role-playing exercises, and survey tools to promote critical thought; Documents including published rules of conduct, sample experimentation protocols, and patent applications. The newly updated fourth edition of Scientific Integrity: Text and Cases in Responsible Conduct of Research responds to significant new mandates, policies, laws, and other developments in the field of responsible conduct of scientific research.

Informed, informative, thoughtful, thought-provoking, articulate, enhanced with the inclusion of seven appendices, and a comprehensive index, Scientific Integrity: Text and Cases in Responsible Conduct of Research should be considered a critically important, even mandatory addition to professional and academic library Science & Ethics reference collections.

Reviewer's Bookwatch

Reviewer: Andy Jordan

Review Date: October 2014

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