Mentoring the next generation of scientists and engineers is an important responsibility for current practitioners, as is making sure that the climate where research takes place promotes transparency and collaboration among scientists. In a study of 2000 doctoral students done in 1994, the largest factor in predicting if students participated in research misconduct was departmental climate. (1) Mentors can play a large role in shaping how students approach research, and institutions can help promote a supportive research environment by developing academic incentives that acknowledge and reward collaboration and cooperative efforts.
The following articles discuss the role organizational climate plays in promoting the responsible conduct of research and the professional responsibilities of mentors.
Fisher, Celia B. Frederick J. Wertz and Sabrina J. Goodman. “Graduate Training in Responsible Conduct of Social Science Research: The Role of Mentors and Departmental Climate.” In Donna M Mertens & Paulina E. Ginsberg (Eds.) The Handbook of Social Research Ethics pp. 550-564.
Discusses the role of mentors in social science, and strategies that social science departments can use to build a strong mentoring program.
Pimple, Kenneth. “The Moral Climate of Research in the United States Today.“ Background Paper for the Institute of Medicine Committee on Assessing Integrity in Research Environments. August, 2001.
The author performed a literature review on empirical assessments of the current moral climate of research in the United States. The author explores internal and external factors that contribute to unethical research practices, and includes a bibliography of articles utilized in his research.
Weil, Vivian. “Mentoring: Some Ethical Considerations.” Science and Engineering Ethics.” 7:4 (2001) 471-482.
This article argues for an honorific definition of “mentor” that describes a mentor as virtuous like a hero or a saint. Using this definition, mentoring relationships must be voluntary, as opposed to the role of an advisor which can be specified and monitored. The author argues that departments and research groups have a moral responsibility to devise a system of roles and structures to meet graduate students’ and postdoctoral fellows’ needs for information and advice.
Wright, David E., Sandra L. Titus, and Jered B. Cornelison. “Mentoring and Research Misconduct: An Analysis of Research Mentoring in Closed ORI Cases.” 14:3 (2008) 323-336.
This study looked at the roles mentors played in cases of research misconduct.
See also the 2001 special issue of Science and Engineering Ethics focusing on mentoring.
(1)Anderson MS, Louis KS, Earle J (1994): Disciplinary and departmental effects on observations of faculty and graduate student misconduct. Journal of Higher Education 65: 331-350.