Cover Page

Special Publications 73


Edited by

Linda C. Gundersen

This Work is a co-publication of the American Geophysical Union and John Wiley and Sons, Inc.



David M. Abbott, Jr.
Chair of the Ethics Committee
American Institute of Professional Geologists Consulting Geologist
Denver, Colorado, USA

Melissa S. Anderson
Professor Director of Graduate Studies
University of Minnesota
Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

Thomas Arrison
Program Director
Policy and Global Affairs
National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine
Washington, D.C., USA

Peter Bobrowsky
Senior Scientist
Geological Survey of Canada
Sydney, British Columbia, Canada

Maeve A. Boland
Director of Geoscience Policy
American Geosciences Institute
Alexandria, Virginia, USA

Monica Z. Bruckner
Science Education and Evaluation Associate
Science Education Resource Center
Carleton College
Northfield, Minnesota, USA

Richard A. Coleman
Science Integrity Coordinator
U.S. Geological Survey
Denver, Colorado, USA

Vincent S. Cronin
Department of Geosciences
Baylor University
Waco, Texas, USA

Giuseppe Di Capua
Research Geologist
Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia (Italian Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology)
Rome, Lazio, Italy

John W. Geissman
Department of Geosciences
University of Texas at Dallas
Richardson, Texas, USA

Linda C. Gundersen
Geologist, Retired
U.S. Geological Survey
Ocean View, Delaware, USA

Brooks Hanson
Senior Vice President, Publications
American Geophysical Union
Washington, D.C., USA

Susan W. Kieffer
Professor Emeritus
Department of Geology
Emeritus Walgreen University Chair
University of Illinois
Champaign, Illinois, USA

Sabine Kleinert
Senior Executive Editor
The Lancet
London, United Kingdom

Vance S. Martin
Research Associate
National Center for Professional & Research Ethics
University of Illinois at Urbana‐Champaign
Illinois, USA

Tony Mayer
European Representative and Research Integrity Officer
Nanyang Technological University
Republic of Singapore

Michael McPhaden
Senior Scientist
NOAA/Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory
Seattle, Washington, USA

David W. Mogk
Department of Earth Sciences
Montana State University
Bozeman, Montana, USA

Robert M. Nerem
Professor and Parker H. Petit
Distinguished Chair Emeritus
Petit Institute for Bioengineering and Bioscience
Georgia Institute of Technology
Atlanta, Georgia, USA

Silvia Peppoloni
Research Geologist
Secretary General IAPG,
Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia (Italian Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology)
Rome, Lazio, Italy

Nicholas H. Steneck
Professor Emeritus of History
University of Michigan
Research Integrity Consultant
Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA

Alan D. Thornhill
Director, Western Ecology Division
Environmental Protection Agency
Corvallis, Washington, USA

Donna C. Tonini
Research Associate
National Center for Professional & Research Ethics
University of Illinois at Urbana‐Champaign
Illinois, USA

Nancy Tuana
DuPont/Class of 1949 Professor of Ethics
Department of Philosophy
Director, Rock Ethics Institute
The Pennsylvania State University
University Park, Pennsylvania, USA

John W. Williams
Past President, National Association of State Boards of Geology (ASBOG) Professor Emeritus
Department of Geology
San José State University
San Jose, California, USA


Welcome to scientific integrity and ethics in the Anthropocene! We are now a densely populated and globally connected species, impacting every aspect of life on Earth, continually generating new technology, new substances, new data, and new challenges. We change the course of large river systems; destroy, replant, and harvest millions of acres of vegetation; modify the chemistry of water and soil on planetary scales; and move millions of tons of earth materials. From climate change to pandemics, from food and energy security to natural catastrophes, we are faced with high‐stake dilemmas demanding solutions. Science and technology will need to help mitigate and solve these problems, especially the geosciences. However, without more careful attention to scientific integrity and ethics, we are headed into a dangerous future. Scientific integrity protects and upholds the framework of science itself, which is currently suffering under a barrage of research misconduct issues from data falsification and fabrication to systemic harassment and discrimination that is disrupting science and marginalizing women and minority students and scientists. Science skeptics have become even more outspoken, and some of that skepticism is being woven into public policy. Scientific misconduct fuels this skepticism and jeopardizes the trust the public has in the scientific enterprise.

Integrity and trust are the foundations of science. This is, in fact, the only way that science actually works. Every scientist trusts that the knowledge and data they use from other scientists is the truth and was produced honestly, objectively, and with integrity. Society is dependent on science and generally believes what scientists communicate and the way science is incorporated into their lives. Without trust and integrity, the system breaks down, and as a result advancement in science is hindered, time and research funds are wasted, society may be harmed and lose confidence in scientific institutions, there may be significant financial impacts to individuals and corporations, and funding for new science may diminish. There is a great deal at stake when a scientist chooses to forgo integrity. Science drives a significant portion of the wealth, health, safety, and well‐being of our world, and here in the twenty‐first century, science is also in the midst of significant change. The world is increasingly complex, making our integrity and ethical challenges more complex. The conduct of science is transitioning from individual‐based, single‐discipline research to large teams with multidisciplinary approaches. Scientific education, funding, and hiring are more competitive. The scientific community is connected and global with different cultural attitudes toward the scientific process and integrity. Data and communication are instantaneous, and technology and data accessibility are advancing at an unprecedented pace, well ahead of policy, standards, and our ability to adapt to them.

Generally, scientific or research integrity codes focus on the individual behavior of the scientist, standards of professional behavior and knowledge, and integrity in the scientific process and publications; they may contain guidance on ethical treatment of humans, animals, and the environment when conducting science. Some codes also include rules on bias, conflict of interest, privacy, confidentiality, and issues of quality that may affect the integrity of the data and interpretation. Ethics underpins scientific integrity but also needs to be a foundation for our decisions regarding how we undertake science and the application of the scientific advancements we make. Ethics in science includes our broader responsibilities to society, moral decisions on the subject and use of science, and our behavior and interactions with both the scientific community and the public. The development of professional or applied ethical codes is well established in the medical, biological, and engineering fields and more recently in the environmental, geographic, and geoscience fields. Geoethics is one such emerging field that has garnered significant attention in the last few years through the focused efforts of several organizations and scientists. Chief among them is the International Association for Promoting Geoethics, which recently released the Cape Town Statement on Geoethics, the first international set of applied ethical principles for the geosciences ( Additionally, the past 10 years have seen the emergence of new global and national scientific integrity codes, the emergence of new applied ethics codes and ideas, and the growing awareness of unacceptable behaviors in the research and educational environment. This volume presents an overview of the current thinking on scientific integrity and ethics from academic, professional, and governmental perspectives, with particular attention to the geosciences. Much of this book is also applicable to all the sciences, addressing common issues such as publishing, data stewardship, and the need for scientific integrity and ethics education for students and early career scientists.

The first section of the book features new codes and reports that are having a strong influence on the landscape of scientific integrity. Chapter 1, on the Singapore and Montreal Statements, discusses the first international research integrity codes, created by the historical World Research Integrity Conferences, that speak beyond traditional fabrication, falsification, and plagiarism and include strong statements on professional behavior, collaboration, and values. Chapter 2 provides insight into the new National Academy of Science report on research integrity that breaks new ground, defining six core values that shape the norms of research, and goes beyond traditional research misconduct by examining detrimental research practices. Chapter 3 provides in detail the Department of Interior Scientific Integrity and Ethics Policy that set the standard for new policies in federal science agencies in the wake of the landmark Memorandum on Scientific Integrity from President Obama in March of 2009.

The second section of the book examines the latest codes of conduct from several major geoscience professional societies and the challenges they face in the current science environment in supporting research integrity and ethical values. Chapter 4 presents the new American Geosciences Institute Guidelines for Ethical and Professional conduct that has been adopted by most American geoscience societies. Chapter 5 presents a discussion by the American Geophysical Union’s past president on the society’s recent scientific integrity and ethics policy, the challenges faced implementing it, outreach efforts, and the latest update that encompasses discrimination, harassment, and bullying. Chapters 6 and 7 provide current and historical perspectives from geoscience industry groups, including the National Association of State Boards of Geology, the American Association of Petroleum Geologists, and the Society of Economic Geologists, with a particular emphasis on the ethical issues most valued by professional geologists and the importance of enforceable codes.

The third section of the book addresses two very critical subjects in science: publications and data stewardship. Chapter 8 discusses the past and present ethical issues in science publication, the industry‐wide challenge to scientific journals related to reproducibility, and the new movement in publication to ensure reliability and provide the data that underpin published science. Chapter 9 walks the reader through the scientific process within the framework of the research data lifecycle, providing checklists of practical ethical questions for every step of the lifecycle that students and faculty can use to ensure the ethics and integrity of their science.

The fourth section of the book introduces the concept of value and ethics in conducting science and the emerging field of geoethics. Geoscientists have traditionally stayed out of policy and secondary applications of their work. Increasingly geoscientists are asked to estimate risks, map areas of vulnerability, and think about the impact of their work on the health, benefit, and welfare of society. Chapter 10 discusses the role of ethical values in scientific integrity using the example of climate change, and Chapter 11 provides an extensive overview of the new field of geoethics.

The last section provides resources for educators on best practices for teaching scientific integrity, ethics, and geoethics. Chapter 12 provides strong support for an experiential approach to teaching integrity and ethics. Chapter 13 presents important understanding and best practices for teaching geoethics within the geoscience curriculum. Chapter 14 is an impassioned appeal on the importance of science ethics education for undergraduates that includes practical examples for implementation.

The book closes with two appendices providing teaching and reference resources for classroom practice and further research and understanding. It is hoped that students, faculty, and professionals in sciences and ethics will be able to use this book to learn, share, and dialogue about scientific integrity and ethics in this changing world and incorporate those lessons into their professional work and teaching.

Linda C. Gundersen
Ocean View, Delaware


The editor would like to thank the American Geophysical Union for their leadership and efforts in promoting scientific integrity and geoethics, and in fighting harassment, discrimination, and bullying in the science environment. Much appreciation goes to Brooks Hanson, who first suggested creating this book, especially for his advice and support throughout its assembly. Thank you to my husband Joseph Smoot for his unfailing support and good counsel. Thank you to the many reviewers and copy editors for their excellent comments and edits, but especially to Kathie Rankin who unselfishly provided specialty editing for several papers. Finally, thank you to Dr. Ritu Bose, editor at Wiley for her patience and guidance throughout.

Section I:
Examples of Recently Developed International and National Codes and Policies