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Argonne National Laboratory

Research Code of Conduct

Research integrity is a key element of Argonne’s Core Values

At Argonne National Laboratory, we accelerate science to make a positive impact on U.S. prosperity and security. Every day, we build on a long, proud history of research discovery, engineering, and innovation to maintain our reputation for science and technology leadership. Our reputation also depends on a strong culture of research integrity—it is vital that our sponsors, partners, and other stakeholders are confident that our work embodies the highest ethical standards together with scientific and scholarly rigor.

Argonne’s Research Code of Conduct is our blueprint for maintaining a culture of research integrity and guiding future generations of Argonne scientists, technologists, and engineers as they uphold our reputation. The Code details what research integrity means on a day-to-day basis and how we hold ourselves accountable for ethical and rigorous research.

Research integrity is an important aspect of the Argonne Core Values that define who we are, guide our decision-making, and govern how we act as an Argonne community. We remain committed to conducting and communicating science in accordance with the highest scientific, professional, and ethical standards.

Paul K. Kearns
Laboratory Director
Argonne National Laboratory


Argonne Research Code of Conduct 

Each member of the Argonne scientific community is expected to conduct and communicate their research and development work in accordance with the highest scientific, professional, and ethical standards and in a manner that fosters mutual respect and enhances the reputation of the individual researcher, his/her colleagues, and Argonne National Laboratory in its mission to address the Department of Energy’s and the nation’s scientific and technical challenges.

As a member of the Argonne scientific community, I will adhere to the following principles:

When developing new ideas and proposals, I will:

  • Record my ideas in notebooks or via another medium
  • Appropriately acknowledge ownership of ideas that are generated
  • Create and support a collaborative climate, so as to minimize concerns that ideas may be appropriated by others
  • Keep confidential any unpublished research shared with me by other researchers
  • Inform all collaborators of DOE and Argonne policies with respect to intellectual property

When performing research activities, I will:

  • Take responsibility for safety and for the impacts of my research on my co-workers, the environment, and human and animal subjects
  • Conduct, manage, judge, and report scientific research objectively, honestly, and thoroughly
  • Be honest and realistic in stating claims or estimates based on available data and understand the limitations of my knowledge
  • Preserve and maintain documentation, such as original data and auxiliary information, with sufficient diligence to enable others to verify and reproduce results
  • Acknowledge all conflicts of interest
  • Refrain from knowingly engaging in activities where a conflict of interest impedes my ability to act in an objective, honest, and ethical manner

When communicating and proposing research, I will:

  • Claim authorship in a work only if I have made a significant intellectual contribution as part of conception, design, data collection, data analysis, or interpretation and made significant contributions to the scientific communication’s preparation
  • Adding Honorary authors” is never acceptable – other contributors should be acknowledged
  • Claim authorship only if I am willing to take responsibility for the validity of the raw data and its interpretation in my area of expertise and for the conclusions as a whole
  • Ensure that all collaborators and co-authors on publications and proposals have the opportunity to review, comment on, and approve scientific communications prior to their release
  • Clearly define expectations for proposals and projects for which I am the principal investigator, including research roles and support for co-investigators
  • Use technical review to achieve the high-quality research product essential to maintaining both my reputation and that of the scientific community at Argonne
  • Submit my research results for publication only when I believe that they represent substantive new contributions to the field
  • Accurately describe research methodology and data processing in all research products, including the ability to trace all figures and images back to the original data
  • Recognize past and present contributors to my research and not accept or assume credit for another’s accomplishments
  • Properly reference and acknowledge past work and accomplishments of my colleagues and others in the scientific community

When dealing with others, I will:

  • Be honest and professional in my interactions
  • Welcome constructive criticism of my personal scientific research and offer the same to my colleagues in a manner that fosters mutual respect and objective scientific debate
  • Mentor new colleagues, students, and guests on the Argonne Research Code of Conduct, leading them by example on how to conduct and report their research in an ethical manner

Adapted from the Oak Ridge National Laboratory Research Code of Conduct with permission.