Ethics and scientific integrity in public health, epidemiological and clinical research

Steven S. Coughlin, Amyre Barker, Angus Dawson

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


The ethics and scientific integrity of biomedical and public health research requires that researchers behave in appropriate ways. However, this requires more than following of published research guidelines that seek to prevent scientific misconduct relating to serious deviations from widely accepted scientific norms for proposing, conducting, and reporting research (e.g., fabrication or falsification of research data or failures to report potential conflicts of interest). In this paper we argue for a broader account of scientific integrity, one consistent with that defended by the United States Institute of Medicine, involving a commitment to intellectual honesty and personal responsibility for one's actions as a researcher and to practices consistent with the responsible conduct of research and protection of the research participants. Maintaining high standards of ethical and scientific integrity helps to maintain public trust in the research enterprise. An increasing number of authors have pointed to the importance of mentoring and education in relation to the responsible conduct of science in preventing transgressions of scientific integrity. Just like in clinical research and biomedicine, epidemiologists and other public health researchers have the responsibility to exhibit and foster the very highest standards of scientific integrity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalPublic Health Reviews
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Clinical research
  • Epidemiology
  • Ethics
  • Plagiarism
  • Public health
  • Scientific integrity
  • Scientific misconduct

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Community and Home Care
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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