Scientific Culture and Accountability

Primary accountability for the veracity of science lies with the principal investigator of an experiment and the co-authors of scientific publications emanating from this work. However, it is the unit director (chair or institute/center director) who is responsible for setting and maintaining standards and ensuring a culture of quality, integrity, and open discourse.

  • All School of Medicine department chairs and center and institute directors have developed accountability plans for research quality and integrity. Download an outline of the main elements of a scientific culture and accountability plan. These plans include:
    • Open forums to encourage critical discussion ensuring the highest possible standards in research.
    • Fostering an environment in which everyone feels free to express concern/criticism.
    • Processes to ensure that the unit leader promptly and appropriately responds to substantive questions raised about research conducted within his/her unit.
  • The School of Medicine uses IntegrityLine (1-800-826-8109) a service that can be used by anyone to anonymously express concerns about research integrity or professionalism. 

  • The Duke Faculty Handbook outlines Duke's Policies Related to Research and Research Misconduct

  • The School of Medicine now requires all faculty and staff engaged in research to participate in responsible conduct of research (RCR) education. RCR programs are also required for all graduate students and post-docs, and recipients of NIH training grants, a Research Ethics course is required for medical students during their 3rd year of scholarly research, and an RCR program is required for Duke undergraduate students supported by NSF or NIH research funding. 

  • A research integrity session is included in the School’s new faculty orientation
  • Duke University has recently acquired iThenticate licenses for faculty and a limited number for staff.  Please contact to inquire about licenses if you are interested in scanning manuscripts, grant applications, or thesis documents through this plagiarism detection software.

  • Duke University has purchased a university wide license for the Epigeum, Oxford University Press interactive online course: Research Quality and Reproducibility. Review and access these interactive online modules to learn more about best practices in research study design, authorship, communication, data management, and other research topics.

  • MyRESEARCHhome is a customizable dashboard designed to guide researchers through the Duke research system with additional support provided by the Office of Research Initiatives.  

  • The Trent Center for Bioethics, Humanities, and History of Medicine teaches courses and provides consultation to Duke faculty, students, and staff in bioethics and research ethics.

  • The Office of Research Integrity within the Department of Health and Human Services maintains an active website on the scientific community and culture with current events, articles, and resources.