The Journal of Philosophy, Science & Law


The Journal of Philosophy, Science & Law: RCR Special Issue
Volume 14, January 30, 2014, pages 13-31
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Responsible Research in an International Laboratory: Personal Perspectives from a Lab Member and Principal Investigator

William J. Polacheck* and Roger D. Kamm**


* Graduate Student, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology,

** Principal Investigator, M.I.T. Mechanobiology Laboratory; Department of Mechanical Engineering and Department of Biological Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and BioSystems and Micromechanics IRG (Singapore)


Recently, we have seen the emergence of the international laboratory in scientific research. These laboratories, characterized by internationally distributed members working to accomplish a unified goal, provide advantages such as cost savings and access to facilities and equipment. However, maintaining responsible conduct of research (RCR) in an international laboratory is complicated by the requirement for technology-mediated communication, lack of trust between local and distant group members, and cultural heterogeneity among lab members. Here we discuss issues we experienced while working in a international laboratory as part of the Singapore-M.I.T. Alliance for Research and Technology, and from our experience, we propose guidelines to maintain RCR in an international laboratory. With proper oversight and cognizance of RCR, work in an international laboratory harbors great benefit for scientists and provides unique opportunity to exchange ideas, data, and insight with scientists of distinct cultural backgrounds.

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