Since research and its interpretation are paramount for the effective functioning of any modern society, there should also be ethical principles governing the process. In terms of research findings, the principle of the utmost importance would strictly forbid concealment or alteration of the findings. Data obtained from basic or fundamental science always serves as the stepping stone for any of its practical uses (Gelfond et al., 2011). Therefore, if someone alters or conceals the data at this step, its productive ad effective use for the benefit of the community becomes impossible or, at the very best, flawed. Considering this, researchers would have an ethical obligation to present the data obtained through scientific pursuits “as is,” without any attempts to change it to better suit the initial hypothesis or for other reasons.
In terms of analyzing the findings obtained from basic science, researchers would be ethically obliged to continuously improve their analytical skills to make the analysis as precise as possible. As mentioned above, an unethical researcher could alter the findings due to bias or seeking gains. However, if an unqualified person attempts to analyze the findings, he or she can arrive to wring and potentially harmful conclusions without any ill will (Gelfond et al., 2011). It is particularly important because findings analysis is the process that translates basic scientific findings into practical implementation, as when using clinical data to improve treatments in healthcare (Gelfond et al., 2011). Incorrectly analyzed and interpreted findings can have dire consequences when the results of the faulty analysis translate into practice. Therefore, the ethical obligation to master the analytical skills necessary to interpret research findings correctly would be the cornerstone of the ethical code in this particular respect.
Gelfond, J. A. L., Heitman, E., Pollock, B. H., & Clugman, C. M. (2011). Principles for the ethical analysis of clinical and translational research. Statistics in Medicine, 30(23), 2785-92. Web.