SfN Council Adopts Principles to Support Ethical Conduct in Neuroscience
Scientific societies exist for many purposes, one of which is to promote responsible conduct within the field they represent. Over the past several years, the Society for Neuroscience (SfN) Council established a set of practices to undertake this important work, created an Ethics Committee to implement them, and committed to review and discuss the Society’s progress. At its Fall meeting in Chicago, Council affirmed its commitment to promoting strong and effective ethical practices and to maintaining the accuracy of the scientific literature published by the Society. It also refined a set of principles that will guide future SfN ethics efforts. You may read more about these principles and how they are applied at www.sfn.org.
“As a leading academic publisher and scientific meeting host, SfN Council will continue to place a special emphasis on ensuring the integrity of its journals and annual meeting, and ensure that ethical conduct is central to the training of scientists across the entire career spectrum,” SfN President Hollis Cline said. “SfN will apply widely-established best practices when addressing allegations in order to manage them with integrity and sensitivity. Moving forward, the Society will explore how it can best approach these issues as one part of a diverse research enterprise.”
The following principles guide Society actions and programming in the future:
- Ethics and responsible conduct will remain a key priority for discussion and learning through Society events, journal forums, global partnerships, and other activities.
- The Society will maintain an Ethics Committee, charged with ensuring consistency in the treatment of ethics issues across the spectrum of Society activities.
- When pursuing ethics questions, SfN will apply best practices and processes established by the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE), which are widely adopted in academic publishing.
- COPE guidelines will inform decision-making by the editorial boards of both SfN publications and the SfN annual meeting Program Committee. SfN editors-in-chief and Program Committee chairs will determine any resulting actions, with assistance and input from the Ethics Committee.
- The Society believes research institutions are best equipped to investigate, evaluate, and take actions with regard to individual investigators, consistent with COPE best practices. Thus, at its discretion, SfN will refer possible violations to an author’s institution for review and any further steps.
In accordance with these principles, SfN will eliminate all current sanctions imposed under the previous policy effective December 1, 2015. This means that beginning that day, SfN will welcome authors who have been previously sanctioned to submit articles to JNeurosci, eNeuro, and the Annual Meeting of the Society for Neuroscience 2016.