SfN Ethics Policy
SfN believes that progress in understanding the nervous system benefits human welfare. This progress depends on the honest and ethical pursuit of scientific research and the truthful representation of findings. The entire scientific endeavor is put at risk by misconduct, including fabrication, falsification, and plagiarism, and by unethical treatment of animals or human subjects. Members of the Society for Neuroscience assume an obligation to maintain the highest level of integrity in their scientific activities, including compliance with the policy herein and expanded in the Guidelines for Responsible Conduct Regarding Scientific Communication and the Policies on the Use of Animals and Humans in Neuroscience Research.
- The integrity of the scientific mission is a collective responsibility. SfN members and those who contribute to SfN activities and publications are expected to conduct science in a responsible and ethical manner. The institutions at which scientific work is carried out are responsible for ensuring ethical standards are followed. SfN has a special responsibility regarding those scientific activities for which it is directly responsible, including publication of JNeurosci, eNeuro, and presentations at the annual meeting. Investigators are responsible for the accuracy of information reported in published articles and abstracts, for insuring that authorship is appropriate, for avoiding plagiarism and duplicate publication, and for insuring the ethical treatment of animals and human subjects. Journal editors and reviewers are responsible for providing a fair, objective, and timely process for reviewing submitted manuscripts.
- Data must be original and accurate. It is essential that researchers and others be able to trust the validity of published data. That trust permits researchers to build on prior observations and thus facilitates the progress of science. Replication and extension of published results allows science to move forward and often entails free sharing of research material. While scientific errors and differences of interpretation are natural aspects of the creative process, data that have been fabricated or falsified contaminate the scientific literature, greatly diminishing its value for researchers and others in the community. Moreover, such fraudulent actions undermine society's trust in the scientific enterprise.
- Priority of data and ideas must be respected. Scientific publication is an important part of the process by which priority is established for experimental work and research ideas. Plagiarism — the presentation of other investigator's data or ideas as your own — is unacceptable. Duplication of text or data (including figures, tables, or portions thereof) previously published by others or presentation of ideas or experimental findings of others must be accompanied by citation of the previous work.
- Authorship should reflect a significant intellectual contribution. Each author should have made a significant intellectual contribution to the conception, design, conduct, analysis, and/or interpretation of the scientific work. Each individual meeting this criterion should be offered the opportunity to participate in authoring, drafting, or critically reviewing the manuscript.
- Original data should only be published once. Reporting the same finding based on the same data in separate publications without explicit acknowledgement of the relationship constitutes duplicate publication and is unacceptable.
- Every author shares responsibility. All authors share responsibility for the scientific accuracy of an abstract or manuscript, including supplementary material. Hence, in cases of fabrication, falsification, or plagiarism, all authors are potentially culpable.
- Conflict of interest must be declared. Authors are responsible for declaring any conflict of interest or appearance thereof that is relevant to a manuscript, abstract, or presentation. Everyone involved in peer review should declare any conflict of interest or appearance thereof and avoid any inappropriate conflict of interest.
- Pre-published material is confidential. Reviewers and editors must avoid breach of confidentiality or using confidential information to advance their own or someone else’s research or financial interests.
- Research using animals and human subjects must be conducted ethically. Research using laboratory animals or human subjects must be done humanely and in accordance with institutional and governmental regulations.
Allegations of Policy Violations
SfN follows the recommended procedures outlined by COPE when dealing with allegations of misconduct.
All SfN policies and guidelines, including elaborations of the above principles, are available on the SfN website:
- Guidelines for Responsible Conduct Regarding Scientific Communication
- Policies on the Use of Animals and Humans in Neuroscience Research
Other relevant policies and guidelines:
This document was prepared by the Responsible Conduct Working Group and approved by the Society for Neuroscience Council on July 20, 2010. It is based on previous guidelines developed by SfN and other organizations, the committee’s own deliberations, and the comments received from others. Some material has been incorporated from the 2008 revision of the “Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals,” prepared by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (www.ICMJE.org).
The Responsible Conduct Working Group included David Van Essen (Washington University, chair), Christopher Henderson (Columbia University), Nancy Ip (Hong Kong University of Science and Technology), Daniel Johnston (University of Texas, Austin), Sabine Kastner (Princeton University), Peggy Mason (University of Chicago), John Maunsell (Harvard University), Jeffrey Rothstein (Johns Hopkins University), Gordon Shepherd (Yale University), and Michael Zigmond (University of Pittsburgh).