(Adopted May 2009)
The purpose of the Code of Ethics is to provide a set of guiding principles to promote exemplary ethical standards in research and scholarship by investigators and the International Association for Dental Research (IADR).
The Code of Ethics is predicated on well established international guidelines, such as the Declaration of Helsinki, and does not take the place of or supersede any rules, agreements, or Bylaws of the Association.
The IADR expects its members to be guided in their professional conduct by this Code. The IADR, through its Committee on Ethics in Dental Research, advises its members regarding interpretation of the Code.
The ability of the scientific community to regulate itself is critical to the maintenance of the public trust. Adherence to the Code is basic to one’s professional responsibility and commitment to an ethical pursuit of knowledge.
Members are expected to cooperate in the implementation of the Code. Misconduct casts doubt on the integrity of individuals and their institutions. It is incumbent upon IADR members to take adequate measures to discourage, prevent, expose, and correct unethical conduct.
Members deemed to be in violation of the Code will be sanctioned by the Association.
Statement of Principles
All members of the IADR shall:
- act with honor and in accordance with the highest standards of professional integrity;
- conduct work with objectivity;
- communicate in an honest and responsible manner;
- show consideration and respect for all components of and individuals associated with the research process;
- cultivate an environment whereby differences in perspective, experience and culture are recognized and valued;
- maintain appropriate standards of accuracy, reliability, credit, candor and confidentiality in all research and scholarship activities;
- use all resources prudently, taking into account appropriate laws and regulations.
Best Practice in Research and Scholarship
The prevention of misconduct in research is best achieved through the education of all individuals involved in research. It is a recommendation that all researchers should participate in appropriate educational activities, which is mandatory in some institutions. Of critical importance is maintaining up to date knowledge of best practices and the mentoring of colleagues and students.
The Declaration of Helsinki is a statement of ethical principles for research involving human participants, including research on identifiable human material and data, which is subject to ethical standards that promote respect for all human participants and protect their health and rights (www.wma.net/en/30publications/10policies/b3/).
Research must adhere to the fundamental principles that respect the needs for autonomy, beneficence and justice as well as veracity, fidelity, anonymity and nonmalficence.
Human participant research comprises, but is not limited to, investigative clinical research, clinical trials, studies using tissue samples and records. Biogenetics, using stem cells and utilizing tissue banks requires complete transparency in all aspects of consenting and confidentiality. It is imperative that investigators remain up to date as these areas are more likely to be subject to legislative change.
By definition, animal research committees provide and approve the informed consent by proxy. An investigator using animals in research should strive to advance understanding of basic principles and/or to contribute to the improvement of human or animal health and welfare. Laws and regulations notwithstanding, an animal's overall protection depends upon the scientist’s appropriate stewardship.
Every effort must be made: (a) to replace the use of live animals by non-animal alternatives; (b) to reduce the number of animals used in research to the minimum required for meaningful results; and (c) to refine the procedures so that the degree of suffering is kept to a minimum (http://royalsociety.org/landing.asp?id=1222).
International collaborative research
It is incumbent on all participating investigators and their colleagues to conduct any research to the highest standards of ethical practice, with due consideration of any local legislation and regulations. Ethical committee approval must be obtained for all sites and written informed consent provided by study participants in the language of each participating site.
Where the population may be vulnerable to exploitation it is important to respect their human rights and ensure that the research has relevance and potential benefit to their well-being (Shapiro and Meslin, 2001).
Conflicts of interest
Each individual is expected to behave in an ethical way to avoid conflict in terms of decision making, publication of data and post-study investigator responsibility. The appearance of a conflict of interest, such as the potential for financial and personal gain, can often be as damaging as an actual act of conflict of interest. Full disclosure of any potential conflict of interest must be made to the investigator's institution or to the Associations as applicable (www.charitycommission.gov.uk/Charity_requirements_guidance/Charity_governance/Good_governance/conflicts.aspx).
The intellectual property rights of all participating researchers should be protected by giving proper credit for the origin of the new ideas. Intellectual property rights apply to any potential commercial gain, and must be agreed at the outset of the project by the investigators, their institutions and/or any other external body, such as a sponsoring company.
Dissemination of information
Most scientific journals ask authors to make declarations at submission about the integrity of their research. Many journals have experienced plagiarism (Smith, 2008), so that editors of journals need to develop policies to minimize the publication of articles containing evidence of scientific misconduct.
It is expected that authors, in any communication, such as manuscripts or abstracts, whether in paper or electronic format, representing a body of research should:
- not inappropriately fragment data into several different publications;
- credit sources of funding;
- adhere to predetermined guidelines regarding qualification and order of authorship;
- read the final manuscript and agree to its submission for review and publication.
Emphasis should be on quality rather than quantity of research as a criterion for recognition of scholarship.
Appropriate written permission must be obtained to publish any type of image, which should not identify the participant.
Reporting Misconduct and Sanctions
The IADR reserves the right to sanction members for scientific misconduct. In the event of any observed or perceived episodes of research misconduct, it is a professional obligation to inform the appropriate authority. IADR membership may be suspended or terminated "for proven scientific misconduct" (IADR Constitution, Article VI, Section 3(B), 1992). Any reporting on violations of the Code of Ethics will be kept confidential by the administrators and staff of the IADR, and by the Editors of IADR's publications, except as otherwise provided in this document. Sanctions will not be implemented without prior approval of the IADR Board of Directors.
All officers*, administrators, and staff of the IADR shall:
- respect the rights and reputation of the IADR, and the privacy of the membership;
- hold Association information in confidence;
- communicate in an honest and responsible manner regarding sponsorship or certification by the IADR;
- not solicit or use recommendations or testimonials from agents nor use their relationships with agents to promote commercial expertise of any kind;
- seek approval of the appropriate authority of IADR to communicate advertisement to the public by written or audio-visual means; and
- state accurately, objectively, and without misrepresentation their professional qualifications, affiliations, and functions as well as those of the IADR with which they or their statements are associated. They shall correct the misrepresentations of others with respect to those matters.
* Officers of IADR include individuals with responsibility from headquarters, federations, divisions, sections and groups
- Conflict of interest is any situation in which personal interest, or interests which an individual owes to another body, and those of the organization arise simultaneously or appear to clash.
- Error: The inadvertent or unrecognized omission of a result or experimental detail, or the misinterpretation of data. (A clear distinction must be made between error and fraud. The former can be tolerated, but once recognized must be corrected. The latter cannot be condoned under any circumstances.)
- Fraud indicates deliberate fabrication, falsification, or omission of data. It constitutes deception and therefore undermines the scientific enterprise from every aspect.
- Plagiarism is the representation of another's work in any form as one's own without appropriate acknowledgment.
- Misconduct is the fabrication, falsification, plagiarism, or other serious deviation from accepted practices in proposing, carrying out, or reporting results from research. It is the failure to comply with international, national, local and institutional requirements for the protection of researchers, human participants, the public and also to ensure the welfare of laboratory animals. It is also the failure to meet other legal requirements governing research.
Examples of misconduct:
- submission of the same article simultaneously to more than one journal without informing the editors concerned;
- a lack of consent by co-authors (co-authorship of an article indicates that all individuals who have genuinely participated in research, in either a conceptual or practical sense, have full knowledge of, and are in total agreement with, the content of the article);
- a lack of acknowledgments of financial support; and
- premature release of scientific data prior to presentation or publication in a peer-reviewed forum.
- “Whistle-Blowing” is the disclosure by an individual of confidential information, which relates to some fraud, danger or other illegal or unethical conduct connected with research. A “whistleblower” is a person who alleges misconduct. Whistleblowing may be seen as a means to deter wrongdoing, promote transparency and good governance, underpin regulation and maintain professional and public confidence.
IADR Constitution and Bylaws (1992). J Dent Res 71:1701-1704. (See http://www.iadr.com/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=3284).
Statement of the Royal Society’s position on animal research, 2000.
Shapiro HT, Meslin EM. Ethical issues in the design and conduct of clinical trials in developing countries. N Engl J Med, 345(2):139-142, 2001.
Smith AJ. Research integrity and scientific misconduct. J Dent Res 87(3):197, 2008.
World Medical Association. Declaration of Helsinki: ethical principles for medical research involving human subjects. 2008. (See www.wma.net/en/30publications/10policies/b3/).
International ethical guidelines for biomedical research involving human subjects. Geneva: Council for International Organizations of Medical Sciences (CIOMS), 1993.
Operational guidelines for ethics committees that review biomedical research. Geneva: World Health Organization, 2000. Report no. TDR/PRD/ETHICS/2000.1. ( See www.who.int/tdr/publications/training-guidelines-publications/operations-guidelines-ethics-biomedical-research/en/).
ADA Principles of Ethics and Code of Professional Conduct, 2005. (See www.ada.org/194.aspx).
Illinois Institute of Technology. Center for the Study of Ethics in the Professions. Codes of Ethics online. (See http://ethics.iit.edu).
A Guide To Conflicts of Interest For Charity Trustees (Version 03/04). (See www.charitycommission.gov.uk/Charity_requirements_guidance/Charity_governance/Good_governance/conflicts.aspx).