A virtue-based responsible conduct of research curriculum: Pilot test results
Drawing on Pennock’s theory of scientific virtues, we are developing an alternative curriculum for training scientists in the responsible conduct of research (RCR) that emphasizes internal values rather than externally imposed rules. This approach focuses on the virtuous characteristics of scientists that lead to responsible and exemplary behavior. We have been pilot-testing one element of such a virtue-based approach to RCR training by conducting dialogue sessions, modeled upon the approach developed by Toolbox Dialogue Initiative, that focus on a specific virtue, e.g., curiosity and objectivity. During these structured discussions, small groups of scientists explore the roles they think the focus virtue plays and should play in the practice of science. Preliminary results have shown that participants strongly prefer this virtue-based model over traditional methods of RCR training. While we cannot yet definitively say that participation in these RCR sessions contributes to responsible conduct, these pilot results are encouraging and warrant continued development of this virtue-based approach to RCR training.