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Guidelines for Ethics in Research
JPLs research community already operates in a highly professional and ethical manner that allows it to support NASA's mission. Recently the Office of the Chief Scientist and Chief Technologist (OCSCT) developed new guidelines to assist researchers by helping to inform their thinking about ethics in research.
The Guidelines for Ethics in Research document was developed by the OCSCT working with members of the JPL research community, and vetted by the Engineering and Science Directorate leadership, the Executive Council, the Caltech Provost, and the JPL Director. The main goal of this new document is to establish guidelines for giving appropriate credit for research contributions. Even in JPL’s open research environment, it is always useful to discuss ethical and professional standards that are at the foundation of our core values as individuals and that JPL expects of its researchers.
The guidelines, while not attempting to be complete, are intended to help the diverse engineering, scientific, and technologist communities start a dialogue to establish shared principles for recognizing contributions.
The document attempts to help researchers determine authorship, communicate with research teams, practice good scholarship, and respect intellectual property. Specifically, the guidelines are meant to address key elements of professional standards which will help ensure that:
Individual researchers establish and maintain the strongest personal reputation
JPL’s reputation as a research institution remains of the highest caliber
Conflicts are avoided or resolved fairly
Unethical behaviors resulting in disciplinary action are avoided
The hope of the OCSCT is that The Guidelines for Ethics in Research will catalyze discussion rather than prescribe answers. Managers at JPL are encouraged to discuss these materials in meetings with their staff, and as part of training courses to help ensure that JPL continues in its proud tradition of excellence in research.