Scientific societies have a significant opportunity to contribute to the promotion of responsible conduct of research (RCR) and to RCR education. The degree to which societies engage such opportunity spans a broad range. There are three principal ways RCR may be promoted by scientific societies. The first is through codes of conduct encouraging their membership to practice ethical research according to the tenets of these codes. The second is through specialized policies (e.g., publication practices) developed by scientific societies that help define normative behavior. Finally, societies have a role to play in creating materials and resources aimed at educating scientists and trainees in matters pertaining to proper research conduct. This article illustrates examples of each of these activities embraced by different scientific societies. The American Society for Microbiology is used as a specific example of a society that has been proactive in each of these three areas. Scientific societies need to recognize the impact they can have on promoting RCR and to expand their efforts in these three and other relevant areas. The examples provided demonstrate the components of a model for all scientific societies to follow in promoting RCR.
Dr. Macrina is Edward Myers Professor of Dentistry, and vice president for research, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia.
Correspondence should be addressed to Dr. Macrina, Office of Research, Virginia Commonwealth University, 800 E. Leigh St., Richmond, VA 23298-0568; telephone: (804) 827-2262; fax: (804) 828-2051; e-mail: (email@example.com).