Empirical Foundations of Information and Software Science IV

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A jarfile containing 37 regression problems, obtained from various sources datasets-numeric. Machine learning and data mining algorithms use techniques from statistics, optimization, and computer science to create automated systems which can sift through large volumes of data at high speed to make predictions or decisions without human intervention. Focus on the overall quality of life.

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I joined UCI right after my Ph. An Introduction to Fluorescence Spectroscopy 5 Luminescence and the nature of light A hot body that emits radiation solely because of its high temperature is said to exhibit incandescence. In recent years, some government research agencies have also adopted policies and procedures for the treatment of research data and materials in their extramural research programs. For example, the National Science Foundation NSF has implemented a data-sharing policy through program management actions, including proposal review and award negotiations and conditions.

In seeking to foster data sharing under federal grant awards, the government relies extensively on the scientific traditions of openness and sharing. Research agency officials have observed candidly that if the vast majority of scientists were not so committed to openness and dissemination, government policy might require more aggressive action. But the principles that have traditionally characterized scientific inquiry can be difficult to maintain.

Research scientists are part of a larger human society that has recently experienced profound changes in attitudes about ethics, morality, and accountability in business, the professions, and government. These attitudes have included greater skepticism of the authority of experts and broader expectations about the need for visible mechanisms to assure proper research practices, especially in areas that affect the public welfare.

Social attitudes are also having a more direct influence on research practices as science achieves a more prominent and public role in society.


In particular, concern about waste, fraud, and abuse involving government funds has emerged as a factor that now directly influences the practices of the research community. Varying historical and conceptual perspectives also can affect expectations about standards of research practice. The criticism suggests that all scientists at all times, in all phases of their work, should be bound by identical standards. Yet historical studies of the social context in which scientific knowledge has been attained suggest that modern criticism of early scientific work often imposes contemporary standards of objectivity and empiricism that have in fact been developed in an evolutionary manner.

But such practices, by today 's standards, would not be acceptable without reporting the justification for omission of recorded data. In the early stages of pioneering studies, particularly when fundamental hypotheses are subject to change, scientists must be free to use creative judgment in deciding which data are truly significant. In such moments, the standards of proof may be quite different from those that apply at stages when confirmation and consensus are sought from peers. Scientists must consistently guard against self-deception, however, particularly when theoretical prejudices tend to overwhelm the skepticism and objectivity basic to experimental practices.

Thus, in some cases, their observations may come closer to theoretical expectations than what might be statistically proper. This source of bias may be acceptable when it is influenced by scientific insight and judgment. But political, financial, or other sources of bias can corrupt the process of data selection.

In situations where both kinds of influence exist, it is particularly important for scientists to be forthcoming about possible sources of bias in the interpretation of research results. The coupling of science to other social purposes in fostering economic growth and commercial technology requires renewed vigilance to maintain acceptable standards for disclosure and control of financial or competitive conflicts of interest and bias in the research environment. The failure to distinguish between appropriate and inappropriate sources of bias in research practices can lead to erosion of public trust in the autonomy of the research enterprise.

In reviewing modern research practices for a range of disciplines, and analyzing factors that could affect the integrity of the research process, the panel focused on the following four areas:. Commonly understood practices operate in each area to promote responsible research conduct; nevertheless, some questionable research practices also occur. Some research institutions, scientific societies, and journals have established policies to discourage questionable practices, but there is not yet a consensus on how to treat violations of these policies.

For example, promotion or appointment policies that stress quantity rather than the quality of publications as a measure of productivity could contribute to questionable practices. Scientific experiments and measurements are transformed into research data. Research data are the basis for reporting discoveries and experimental results. Scientists traditionally describe the methods used for an experiment, along with appropriate calibrations, instrument types, the number of repeated measurements, and particular conditions that may have led to the omission of some datain the reported version.

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Standard procedures, innovations for particular purposes, and judgments concerning the data are also reported. The general standard of practice is to provide information that is sufficiently complete so that another scientist can repeat or extend the experiment.

Glynn Harmon

When a scientist communicates a set of results and a related piece of theory or interpretation in any form at a meeting, in a journal article, or in a book , it is assumed that the research has been conducted as reported. It is a violation of the most fundamental aspect of the scientific research process to set forth measurements that have not, in fact, been performed fabrication or to ignore or change relevant data that contradict the reported findings falsification.

On occasion what is actually proper research practice may be confused with misconduct in science. Thus, for example, applying scientific judgment to refine data and to remove spurious results places.

Empirical Foundations of Information and Software Science IV | Jagdish C. Agrawal | Springer

Responsible practice requires that scientists disclose the basis for omitting or modifying data in their analyses of research results, especially when such omissions or modifications could alter the interpretation or significance of their work. In the last decade, the methods by which research scientists handle, store, and provide access to research data have received increased scrutiny, owing to conflicts, over ownership, such as those described by Nelkin ; advances in the methods and technologies that are used to collect, retain, and share data; and the costs of data storage.

More specific concerns have involved the profitability associated with the patenting of science-based results in some fields and the need to verify independently the accuracy of research results used in public or private decision making. In resolving competing claims, the interests of individual scientists and research institutions may not always coincide: researchers may be willing to exchange scientific data of possible economic significance without regard for financial or institutional implications, whereas their institutions may wish to establish intellectual property rights and obligations prior to any disclosure.

The general norms of science emphasize the principle of openness. Scientists are generally expected to exchange research data as well as unique research materials that are essential to the replication or extension of reported findings. The report Sharing Research Data concluded that the general principle of data sharing is widely accepted, especially in the behavioral and social sciences NRC, The report catalogued the benefits of data sharing, including maintaining the integrity of the research process by providing independent opportunities for verification, refutation, or refinement of original results and data; promoting new research and the development and testing of new theories; and encouraging appropriate use of empirical data in policy formulation and evaluation.

The same report examined obstacles to data sharing, which include the criticism or competition that might be stimulated by data sharing; technical barriers that may impede the exchange of computer-readable data; lack of documentation of data sets; and the considerable costs of documentation, duplication, and transfer of data.

The exchange of research data and reagents is ideally governed by principles of collegiality and reciprocity: scientists often distribute reagents with the hope that the recipient will reciprocate in the future, and some give materials out freely with no stipulations attached. Such cases may be well known to senior research investigators, but they are not well documented.

Some scientists may share materials as part of a collaborative agreement in exchange for co-authorship on resulting publications. Some donors stipulate that the shared materials are not to be used for applications already being pursued by the donor's laboratory.

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Other stipulations include that the material not be passed on to third parties without prior authorization, that the material not be used for proprietary research, or that the donor receive prepublication copies of research publications derived from the material. In some instances, so-called materials transfer agreements are executed to specify the responsibilities of donor and recipient. As more academic research is being supported under proprietary agreements, researchers and institutions are experiencing the effects of these arrangements on research practices.

Governmental support for research studies may raise fundamental questions of ownership and rights of control, particularly when data are subsequently used in proprietary efforts, public policy decisions, or litigation. Some federal research agencies have adopted policies for data sharing to mitigate conflicts over issues of ownership and access NIH, ; NSF, b.

Many research investigators store primary data in the laboratories in which the data were initially derived, generally as electronic records or data sheets in laboratory notebooks. For most academic laboratories, local customary practice governs the storage or discarding of research data.

Formal rules or guidelines concerning their disposition are rare. Many laboratories customarily store primary data for a set period often 3 to 5 years after they are initially collected. Data that support publications are usually retained for a longer period than are those tangential to reported results. Some research laboratories serve as the proprietor of data and data books that are under the stewardship of the principal investigator. Others maintain that it is the responsibility of the individuals who collected the data to retain proprietorship, even if they leave the laboratory.

Concerns about misconduct in science have raised questions about the roles of research investigators and of institutions in maintaining and providing access to primary data. In some cases of alleged misconduct, the inability or unwillingness of an investigator to provide.

Many scientists believe that access should be restricted to peers and colleagues, usually following publication of research results, to reduce external demands on the time of the investigator. Others have suggested that raw data supporting research reports should be accessible to any critic or competitor, at any time, especially if the research is conducted with public funds. This topic, in particular, could benefit from further research and systematic discussion to clarify the rights and responsibilities of research investigators, institutions, and sponsors. Institutional policies have been developed to guide data storage practices in some fields, often stimulated by desires to support the patenting of scientific results and to provide documentation for resolving disputes over patent claims.

Laboratories concerned with patents usually have very strict rules concerning data storage and note keeping, often requiring that notes be recorded in an indelible form and be countersigned by an authorized person each day. A few universities have also considered the creation of central storage repositories for all primary data collected by their research investigators. Some government research institutions and industrial research centers maintain such repositories to safeguard the record of research developments for scientific, historical, proprietary, and national security interests.

In the academic environment, however, centralized research records raise complex problems of ownership, control, and access. Centralized data storage is costly in terms of money and space, and it presents logistical problems of cataloguing and retrieving data. There have been suggestions that some types of scientific data should be incorporated into centralized computerized data banks, a portion of which could be subject to periodic auditing or certification.

Some scientific journals now require that full data for research papers be deposited in a centralized data bank before final publication. Policies and practices differ, but in some fields support is growing for compulsory deposit to enhance researchers' access to supporting data.

Advances in electronic and other information technologies have raised new questions about the customs and practices that influence the storage, ownership, and exchange of electronic data and software. A number of special issues, not addressed by the panel, are associated with computer modeling, simulation, and other approaches that are becoming more prevalent in the research environment. Computer technology can enhance research collaboration; it can also create new impediments to data sharing resulting from increased costs, the need for specialized equipment, or liabilities or uncertainties about responsibilities for faulty data, software, or computer-generated models.

Advances in computer technology may assist in maintaining and preserving accurate records of research data. Such records could help resolve questions about the timing or accuracy of specific research findings, especially when a principal investigator is not available or is uncooperative in responding to such questions. In principle, properly managed information technologies, utilizing advances in nonerasable optical disk systems, might reinforce openness in scientific research and make primary data more transparent to collaborators and research managers.

For example, the so-called WORM write once, read many systems provide a high-density digital storage medium that supplies an ineradicable audit trail and historical record for all entered information Haas, Advances in information technologies could thus provide an important benefit to research institutions that wish to emphasize greater access to and storage of primary research data.

But the development of centralized information systems in the academic research environment raises difficult issues of ownership, control, and principle that reflect the decentralized character of university governance. Such systems are also a source of additional research expense, often borne by individual investigators. Moreover, if centralized systems are perceived by scientists as an inappropriate or ineffective form of management or oversight of individual research groups, they simply may not work in an academic environment.

Scientists communicate research results by a variety of formal and informal means. In earlier times, new findings and interpretations were communicated by letter, personal meeting, and publication. Today, computer networks and facsimile machines have sup-. Scientific meetings routinely include poster sessions and press conferences as well as formal presentations. Although research publications continue to document research findings, the appearance of electronic publications and other information technologies heralds change.

In addition, incidents of plagiarism, the increasing number of authors per article in selected fields, and the methods by which publications are assessed in determining appointments and promotions have all increased concerns about the traditions and practices that have guided communication and publication. Journal publication, traditionally an important means of sharing information and perspectives among scientists, is also a principal means of establishing a record of achievement in science. Evaluation of the accomplishments of individual scientists often involves not only the numbers of articles that have resulted from a selected research effort, but also the particular journals in which the articles have appeared.

Journal submission dates are often important in establishing priority and intellectual property claims. Authorship of original research reports is an important indicator of accomplishment, priority, and prestige within the scientific community. Questions of authorship in science are intimately connected with issues of credit and responsibility. Authorship practices are guided by disciplinary traditions, customary practices within research groups, and professional and journal standards and policies.

A general rule is that an author must have participated sufficiently in the work to take responsibility for its content and vouch for its validity. Some journals have adopted more specific guidelines, suggesting that credit for authorship be contingent on substantial participation in one or more of the following categories: 1 conception and design of the experiment, 2 execution of the experiment and collection and storage of the supporting data, 3 analysis and interpretation of the primary data, and 4 preparation and revision of the manuscript.

The extent of participation in these four activities required for authorship varies across journals, disciplines, and research groups. Some scientists have requested or been given authorship as a form of recognition of their status or influence rather than their intellectual contribution. Some research leaders have a custom of including their own names in any paper issuing from their laboratory, although this practice is increasingly discouraged.

In some cases, noncontributing authors have been listed without their consent, or even without their being told. In response to these practices, some journals now require all named authors to sign the letter that accompanies submission of the original article, to ensure that no author is named without consent. In these cases, a co-author may claim responsibility for a specialized portion of the paper and may not even see or be able to defend the paper as a whole. However, the risks associated with the inabilities of co-authors to vouch for the integrity of an entire paper are great; scientists may unwittingly become associated with a discredited publication.

Another problem of lesser importance, except to the scientists involved, is the order of authors listed on a paper. The meaning of author order varies among and within disciplines. For example, in physics the ordering of authors is frequently alphabetical, whereas in the social sciences and other fields, the ordering reflects a descending order of contribution to the described research. Another practice, common in biology, is to list the senior author last. Appropriate recognition for the contributions of junior investigators, postdoctoral fellows, and graduate students is sometimes a source of discontent and unease in the contemporary research environment.

Junior researchers have raised concerns about treatment of their contributions when research papers are prepared and submitted, particularly if they are attempting to secure promotions or independent research funding or if they have left the original project. In some cases, well-meaning senior scientists may grant junior colleagues. In others, significant contributions may not receive appropriate recognition. Authorship practices are further complicated by large-scale projects, especially those that involve specialized contributions.

Mission teams for space probes, oceanographic expeditions, and projects in high-energy physics, for example, all involve large numbers of senior scientists who depend on the long-term functioning of complex equipment. Some questions about communication and publication that arise from large science projects such as the Superconducting Super Collider include: Who decides when an experiment is ready to be published?

How is the spokesperson for the experiment determined? Who determines who can give talks on the experiment? How should credit for technical or hardware contributions be acknowledged? Apart from plagiarism, problems of authorship and credit allocation usually do not involve misconduct in science. Many research groups have found that the best method of resolving authorship questions is to agree on a designation of authors at the outset of the project.

The negotiation and decision process provides initial recognition of each member's effort, and it may prevent misunderstandings that can arise during the course of the project when individuals may be in transition to new efforts or may become preoccupied with other matters. Plagiarism is using the ideas or words of another person without giving appropriate credit. Plagiarism includes the unacknowledged use of text and ideas from published work, as well as the misuse of privileged information obtained through confidential review of research proposals and manuscripts.

As described in Honor in Science, plagiarism can take many forms: at one extreme is the exact replication of another's writing without appropriate attribution Sigma Xi, The misuse of privileged information may be less clear-cut because it does not involve published work. But the general principles. The use of ideas or information obtained from peer review is not acceptable because the reviewer is in a privileged position.

Additional Concerns. Some institutions, such as Harvard Medical School, have responded to these problems by limiting the number of publications reviewed for promotion. Others have placed greater emphasis on major contributions as the basis for evaluating research productivity. As gatekeepers of scientific journals, editors are expected to use good judgment and fairness in selecting papers for publication. Although editors cannot be held responsible for the errors or inaccuracies of papers that may appear in their journals, editors have obligations to consider criticism and evidence that might contradict the claims of an author and to facilitate publication of critical letters, errata, or retractions.

Should questions be raised about the integrity of a published work, the editor may request an author's institution to address the matter. Editors often request written assurances that research reported conforms to all appropriate guidelines involving human or animal subjects, materials of human origin, or recombinant DNA. In theory, editors set standards of authorship for their journals. In practice, scientists in the specialty do. Editors may specify the. For example, the New England Journal of Medicine has established a category of prohibited contributions from authors engaged in for-profit ventures: the journal will not allow.

Editors can clarify and insist on the confidentiality of review and take appropriate actions against reviewers who violate it. Journals also may require or encourage their authors to deposit reagents and sequence and crystallographic data into appropriate databases or storage facilities.

Peer review is the process by which editors and journals seek to be advised by knowledgeable colleagues about the quality and suitability of a manuscript for publication in a journal. Peer review is also used by funding agencies to seek advice concerning the quality and promise of proposals for research support. The proliferation of research journals and the rewards associated with publication and with obtaining research grants have put substantial stress on the peer review system.

Reviewers for journals or research agencies receive privileged information and must exert great care to avoid sharing such information with colleagues or allowing it to enter their own work prematurely. Although the system of peer review is generally effective, it has been suggested that the quality of refereeing has declined, that self-interest has crept into the review process, and that some journal editors and reviewers exert inappropriate influence on the type of work they deem publishable. At some level, all scientific reports, even those that mark profound advances, contain errors of fact or interpretation.

In part, such errors reflect uncertainties intrinsic to the research process itself —a hypothesis is formulated, an experimental test is devised, and based on the interpretation of the results, the hypothesis is refined, revised, or discarded. Each step in this cycle is subject to error. The precision and accuracy of the measurements. These in turn depend on available technology, the use of proper statistical and analytical methods, and the skills of the investigator. Generality of the experimental system and approach. Experimental design—a product of the background and expertise of the investigator.

Interpretation and speculation regarding the significance of the findings—judgments that depend on expert knowledge, experience, and the insightfulness and boldness of the investigator. Viewed in this context, errors are an integral aspect of progress in attaining scientific knowledge. They are consequences of the fact that scientists seek fundamental truths about natural processes of vast complexity. In the best experimental systems, it is common that relatively few variables have been identified and that even fewer can be controlled experimentally.

Even when important variables are accounted for, the interpretation of the experimental results may be incorrect and may lead to an erroneous conclusion. Such conclusions are sometimes overturned by the original investigator or by others when new insights from another study prompt a reexamination of older reported data. In addition, however, erroneous information can also reach the scientific literature as a consequence of misconduct in science.

What becomes of these errors or incorrect interpretations? This implies that errors will generally not long confound the direction of thinking or experimentation in actively pursued areas of research. Clearly, published experiments are not routinely replicated precisely by independent investigators. However, each experiment is based on conclusions from prior studies; repeated failure of the experiment eventually calls into question those conclusions and leads to reevaluation of the measurements, generality, design, and interpretation of the earlier work.

Thus publication of a scientific report provides an opportunity for the community at large to critique and build on the substance of the report, and serves as one stage at which errors and misinterpretations can be detected and corrected. Each new finding is considered by the community in light of what is already known about the system investigated, and disagreements with established measurements and interpretations must be justified. For example, a particular interpretation of an electrical measurement of a material may implicitly predict the results of an optical experiment. If the reported optical results are in disagreement with the electrical interpretation, then the latter is unlikely to be correct—even though the measurements them-.

It is also possible, however, that the contradictory results are themselves incorrect, and this possibility will also be evaluated by the scientists working in the field. It is by this process of examination and reexamination that science advances. The research endeavor can therefore be viewed as a two-tiered process: first, hypotheses are formulated, tested, and modified; second, results and conclusions are reevaluated in the course of additional study.

In fact, the two tiers are interrelated, and the goals and traditions of science mandate major responsibilities in both areas for individual investigators. Importantly, the principle of self-correction does not diminish the responsibilities of the investigator in either area. The investigator has a fundamental responsibility to ensure that the reported results can be replicated in his or her laboratory. The scientific community in general adheres strongly to this principle, but practical constraints exist as a result of the availability of specialized instrumentation, research materials, and expert personnel.

Other forces, such as competition, commercial interest, funding trends and availability, or pressure to publish may also erode the role of replication as a mechanism for fostering integrity in the research process. The panel is unaware of any quantitative studies of this issue. The process of reevaluating prior findings is closely related to the formulation and testing of hypotheses. In that setting, the precise replication of a prior result commonly serves as a crucial control in attempts to extend the original findings. It is not unusual that experimental flaws or errors of interpretation are revealed as the scope of an investigation deepens and broadens.

If new findings or significant questions emerge in the course of a reevaluation that affect the claims of a published report, the investigator is obliged to make public a correction of the erroneous result or to indicate the nature of the questions. Occasionally, this takes the form of a formal published retraction, especially in situations in which a central claim is found to be fundamentally incorrect or irreproducible.

More commonly, a somewhat different version of the original experiment, or a revised interpretation of the original result, is published as part of a subsequent report that extends in other ways the initial work. Such behavior is, at best, a questionable research practice. Clearly, each scientist has a responsibility to foster an environment that en-. Much greater complexity is encountered when an investigator in one research group is unable to confirm the published findings of another.

In such situations, precise replication of the original result is commonly not attempted because of the lack of identical reagents, differences in experimental protocols, diverse experimental goals, or differences in personnel. Under these circumstances, attempts to obtain the published result may simply be dropped if the central claim of the original study is not the major focus of the new study.

Alternatively, the inability to obtain the original finding may be documented in a paper by the second investigator as part of a challenge to the original claim.

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In any case, such questions about a published finding usually provoke the initial investigator to attempt to reconfirm the original result, or to pursue additional studies that support and extend the original findings. In accordance with established principles of science, scientists have the responsibility to replicate and reconfirm their results as a normal part of the research process.

The cycles of theoretical and methodological formulation, testing, and reevaluation, both within and between laboratories, produce an ongoing process of revision and refinement that corrects errors and strengthens the fabric of research. The panel defined a mentor as that person directly responsible for the professional development of a research trainee.

The relationship of the mentor and research trainee is usually characterized by extraordinary mutual commitment and personal involvement. A mentor, as a research advisor, is generally expected to supervise the work of the trainee and ensure that the trainee's research is completed in a sound, honest, and timely manner. The ideal mentor challenges the trainee, spurs the trainee to higher scientific achievement, and helps socialize the trainee into the community. Research mentors thus have complex and diverse roles. Many individuals excel in providing guidance and instruction as well as personal support, and some mentors are resourceful in providing funds and securing professional opportunities for their trainees.

The mentoring relationship may also combine elements of other relationships, such as parenting, coaching, and guildmastering. Many students come to respect and admire their mentors, who act as role models for their younger colleagues. However, the mentoring relationship does not always function properly or even satisfactorily. Almost no literature exists that evaluates which problems are idiosyncratic and which are systemic.

However, it is clear that traditional practices in the area of mentorship and training are under stress. In some research fields, for example, concerns are being raised about how the increasing size and diverse composition of research groups affect the quality of the relationship between trainee and mentor. As the size of research laboratories expands, the quality of the training environment is at risk CGS, a.

Large laboratories may provide valuable instrumentation and access to unique research skills and resources as well as an opportunity to work in pioneering fields of science. But as only one contribution to the efforts of a large research team, a graduate student's work may become highly specialized, leading to a narrowing of experience and greater dependency on senior personnel; in a period when the availability of funding may limit research opportunities, laboratory heads may find it necessary to balance research decisions for the good of the team against the individual educational interests of each trainee.

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Moreover, the demands of obtaining sufficient resources to maintain a laboratory in the contemporary research environment often separate faculty from their trainees. When laboratory heads fail to participate in the everyday workings of the laboratory—even for the most beneficent of reasons, such as finding funds to support young investigators—their inattention may harm their trainees' education. Although the size of a research group can influence the quality of mentorship, the more important issues are the level of supervision received by trainees, the degree of independence that is appropriate for the trainees' experience and interests, and the allocation of credit for achievements that are accomplished by groups composed of individuals with different status.

Certain studies involving large groups of 40 to or more are commonly carried out by collaborative or hierarchical arrangements under a single investigator. These factors may affect the ability of research mentors to transmit the methods and ethical principles according to which research should be conducted. Problems also arise when faculty members are not directly rewarded for their graduate teaching or training skills. Although faculty may receive indirect rewards from the contributions of well-trained graduate students to their own research as well as the satisfaction of seeing their students excelling elsewhere, these rewards may not be sufficiently significant in tenure or promotion decisions.

When institutional policies fail to recognize and reward the value of good teaching and mentorship, the pressures to maintain stable funding for research teams in a competitive environment can overwhelm the time allocated to teaching and mentorship by a single investigator. The increasing duration of the training period in many research fields is another source of concern, particularly when it prolongs the dependent status of the junior investigator.

The formal period of graduate and postdoctoral training varies considerably among fields of study. In , the median time to the doctorate from the baccalaureate degree was 6. The disciplinary median varied: 5. Students, research associates, and faculty are currently raising various questions about the rights and obligations of trainees. Sexist behavior by some research directors and other senior scientists is a particular source of concern.

Another significant concern is that research trainees may be subject to exploitation because of their subordinate status in the research laboratory, particularly when their income, access to research resources, and future recommendations are dependent on the goodwill of the mentor. Foreign students and postdoctoral fellows may be especially vulnerable, since their immigration status often depends on continuation of a research relationship with the selected mentor.

Inequalities between mentor and trainee can exacerbate ordinary conflicts such as the distribution of credit or blame for research error NAS, When conflicts arise, the expectations and assumptions. Ideally, mentors and trainees should select each other with an eye toward scientific merit, intellectual and personal compatibility, and other relevant factors. But this situation operates only under conditions of freely available information and unconstrained choice —conditions that usually do not exist in academic research groups.

The trainee may choose to work with a faculty member based solely on criteria of patronage, perceived influence, or ability to provide financial support. Good mentors may be well known and highly regarded within their research communities and institutions. Unfortunately, individuals who exploit the mentorship relationship may be less visible. Poor mentorship practices may be self-correcting over time, if students can detect and avoid research groups characterized by disturbing practices.

However, individual trainees who experience abusive relationships with a mentor may discover only too late that the practices that constitute the abuse were well known but were not disclosed to new initiates. It is common practice for a graduate student to be supervised not only by an individual mentor but also by a committee that represents the graduate department or research field of the student.