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November 2, 2011

U.S. Rep. David Price to be Honored at Ethics Conference in Raleigh

MEDIA CONTACT: Charles Blackburn, 919-549-4691 x212 * 800-243-6534 x212 * cblackburn@sigmaxi.org

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, NC - U.S. Rep. David Price (D-North Carolina) will be inducted as an honorary member of Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society on Saturday, Nov. 12, (11:30 a.m.) during the society's ethics conference at the Raleigh Convention Center.

Price was named a "Champion of Science" by the Science Coalition, a non-profit, nonpartisan organization of 50 of the leading public and private research universities in the U.S. The North Carolina chapter of the Sierra Club has also recognized him as their "Legislator of the Year." Among other accomplishments, Price authored a bill to establish the National Science Foundation's Advanced Technological Education program, which helps community colleges upgrade their training programs for jobs in high-tech fields.

The ethics conference, which will bring together experts from across the U.S., is part of Sigma Xi's 125 anniversary celebration. The progress of science and public trust in research depend upon ethical research practices. Sigma Xi believes that integrity is vital to all stages of research—from conducting experiments to discussing results with the media.

Scientific integrity will be explored from several angles in a series of special sessions, "The Responsible Researcher: Conscience and Collaboration," Confirmed speakers and topics are listed below. All sessions are open to the public. For registration information visit www.sigmaxi.org/meetings/annual.

Session: Ethics & Integrity in Conducting and Reporting Research

Fred Grinnell
Founding Director of Ethics in Science and Medicine Program, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center

Peggy Fischer
Assistant Inspector General for Investigations, National Science Foundation

Dan Vallero
Adjunct Professor of Engineering Ethics, Duke University

Session: Interrelationship of Science, Culture, Religion and Ethics

William Steiner
Dean of the College of Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resource Management, University of Hawaii at Hilo

The modern scientific method has taken many years to recognize the value of cul­tural knowledge. Hawaiian cultural and agricultural practices offer many exam­ples, and demonstrates the observational abilities of the early native culture. Its contribution to modern agriculture and science offers insight into a changing world that bears on the meaning and art of sustainability, and that can inform our own survival in these harsh times.

Brother Guy Consolmagno
Vatican Observatory

As someone who worked for many years on government grants and in the search for tenure, and who now is free to pursue whatever science strikes his fancy, I have become very sensitive to how cultural pressures directly affect the kind of science that gets done. I am especially interested in understanding the context in which science is done; how this affects the motivations of those who enter the field of science, and how these motivations affect the science we choose to do: the questions we ask, and the assumptions we make. I have also seen how the well-publicized "war" of science and religion has had many unfortunate effects, not the least being to discourage young people from careers in science.

Stephen Rappaport
Knowledge Solutions Director, Advertising Research Foundation

Ethical peer review is essential to scientific advance. Sigma Xi asked 2010 Chubb Award recipient Howard Moskowitz to utilize his scientific approach, called Mind Genomics, to study ethical practices. Mind Genomics reveals mindsets that people hold towards people, places, things, practices and ideas. The research demonstrates that Sigma Xi members share an understanding of good and bad practices, but what is most interesting is that ethical emphasis varies with age and mindsets, with implications for peer review. This presentation summarizes the key findings and raises considerations for academic publishing.

Session: Peer Review and Authorship across Borders & Disciplines

Melissa S. Anderson
Center for Bioethics, University of Minnesota
Anderson is professor of higher education, with affiliate membership in bioethics, at the University of Minnesota.

Journals typically specify criteria for authorship, and institutional and national codes of ethics provide guidance. Unfortunately, however, authorship disputes and inappropriate assignment of authorship persist, with particular challenges arising in the context of international collaborations. This presentation is based on empirical evidence from a national study of integrity issues in international research collaborations.

Mohammed Noor
Professor of Biology, Duke University

David Resnik
Bioethicist, National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences

Scientific publication has become an increasingly international activity, involving collaborations and interactions among researchers, reviewers, and editors in different countries. To ensure that standards of scientific integrity are upheld, it is important to develop international standards for authorship and peer review. This presentation will address the international standards that have been developed to date as well as some key areas for future development.

Daniel Vasgird
Director of Research Integrity & Compliance, West Virginia University

In a multidisciplinary study of four distinct disciplines (microbiology, nursing, psychology and neuroscience) from 50 graduate programs in the United States, an assessment was made as to how research scientists learned about the ethical standards of research, including data management, collaboration and authorship practices. I will focus on and describe the authorship results. The sources of learning were intriguing and perhaps help to clarify some of the better avenues for promoting research integrity.

Workshop: Challenges and Issues in Authorship

Stephanie Bird
Co-Editor-in-Chief of Science and Engineering Ethics

Authorship is a common element in the work life of professionals in science and engineering, and it is usually essential for professional development and advancement. Nevertheless, expectations of authorship—and the understanding and assumptions regarding criteria for authorship, the significance of the order of authors and the responsibilities of authors—vary widely. They can be the source of confusion, misunderstanding and contention.

Session: Communicating Science Through the Popular Media

Dennis Meredith
Science communicator including service at some of the country's leading research universities (MIT, Caltech, Cornell, Duke and the University of Wisconsin), author of "Explaining Research"

Catherine Clabby
Associate Editor, American Scientist Magazine

Bora Zivkovic
Blogs Editor at Scientific American and science blogger

David Baron
Health & Science Editor, PRI's The World

In addition, Sigma Xi’s 2011 award winners will be speaking at the meeting:

- Walston Chubb Award recipient Casmier Decusatis, IBM Distinguished Engineer, will be speaking on Friday, Nov. 11, at 10:45 a.m.

- William Procter Prize recipient Supriyo Datta, engineer and physicist at Purdue University, will be speaking on Friday, Nov. 11, at 12:15 p.m.

- Young Investigator Award recipient Tennie Matlock, associate professor at the University of California, Merced, will be speaking on Saturday, Nov. 12, at 12:00 noon.

- John P. McGovern Award recipient Kathryn Sulllivan, former astronaut and first U.S. woman to walk in space, will be speaking on Saturday, Nov. 12, at 4:30 p.m.

About Sigma Xi
Founded in 1886, Sigma Xi is the international honor society of research scientists and engineers, with more than 500 chapters at colleges and universities, government laboratories and industry research centers. Membership is by invitation, in recognition of research potential or achievement. Over the years, more than 200 Sigma Xi members have received the Nobel Prize. In addition to publishing American Scientist, the non-profit Society awards hundreds of grants annually to student researchers and sponsors a variety of programs that support science and engineering.


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