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Open Access Editorial

Reflections on the responsible conduct of cancer research

Mark A Brown1*, Richard J Ablin23 and Denys N Wheatley34

Author Affiliations

1 Colorado State University, 801 Oval Drive, Fort Collins, CO 80523-1052, USA

2 University of Arizona College of Medicine, Arizona Cancer Center, BIO5 Institute, Center on Injury Mechanisms & Related Responses, 1501 N. Campbell Avenue, Tucson, AZ 85724-5221, USA

3 Cancer Cell International, BioMed Central Ltd. Floor 6, 236 Gray's Inn Road London WC1X 8HL, UK

4 BioMedES, Leggat House, Keithhall, Inverurie, Aberdeen AB51 0LX, UK

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Cancer Cell International 2010, 10:5  doi:10.1186/1475-2867-10-5

Published: 2 March 2010

Abstract

Most cancer researchers regularly practice the responsible conduct of research (RCR) without consciously considering it. As professional scientists, we simply do what we are trained to do. However, as we train a new generation of cancer researchers in our laboratories, we must be vigilant against undue complacency. In an age when misconduct in research is receiving more media attention than ever before, we should periodically take a moment of pause and reflect upon the meaning and practice of responsibly conducting research. Rather than meeting minimum standards in a compliance-driven manner, we should practice forethought and periodically consider how we can improve. We, as leaders in cancer research, must then push our peers to do the same. By embedding RCR into the culture of cancer research through a multilayer approach, including regular assessment at the levels of individual research groups, departmentally, and institutionally, we will become a model discipline in the responsible conduct of research.