NIH Recordkeeping Guidelines - Guidelines for SCIENTIFIC...

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Guidelines for SCIENTIFIC RECORD KEEPING in the Intramural Research Program at the NIH National Institutes of Health Offce of the Director
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1 Preface T he progress and excellence of NIH research are dependent on our vigilance in maintain- ing the highest quality of records for every as- pect of the science conducted here. It is impor- tant that every Principal Investigator involved in research at NIH ensures that all scientifc staff working with him/her read, understand, and incorporate the Guidelines for Scientifc Record Keeping into everyday practice. These Guide- lines set forth the general principles underlying record keeping that are necessary to support the conduct of good science and address needs aris- ing from the rapid growth of alternative record keeping methods, the increasing complexity of research data formats, and the infux of scien- tifc trainees with diverse backgrounds. Accord- ingly, the Guidelines should assist both new and experienced investigators as they work together to ensure that all research carried out in the Intramural Research Program is backed up by appropriate scientifc record keeping. The Guidelines were prepared by the intramural scientists on the NIH Committee on Scientifc Conduct and Ethics in response to their recognition that not all scientists have received appropriate training in how to maintain excellent scientifc records. The Scientifc Directors have approved the Guidelines. Michael M. Gottesman, M.D. Deputy Director for Intramural Research, NIH 1st Edition December 2008
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2 Introduction G ood science requires good record keeping. Good record keeping promotes both ac- countability and integrity in research. Good re- cords are complete, accurate and understandable to others. Records of research activities should be kept in suffcient detail to allow another scientist skilled in the art to repeat the work and obtain the same results. Each member of a research group is responsible for his/her own research records while the principal investigator has the ultimate responsibility for the labora- tory’s records. It is also helpful to remember that any records of research conducted by NIH scientists are the property of the NIH. There are at least fve reasons why it is impor- tant to keep good records in scientifc research: 1. Good record keeping is necessary for data analysis, publication, collaboration, peer review, and other research activities. Research records can help you to communicate with members of your research team and col- laborators, brainstorm for ideas, draft or revise your research plans. When it is time to publish or present your research, you need to be able to fnd the data that support your conclusions and analyses. Editors and reviewers may also re- quest additional data beyond what you submit.
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