Researchers have a broad range of ethical responsibilities to their colleagues, their institution, and the public, and only a short list of them will be mentioned here. One of the key responsibilities that researchers have is to communicate research findings in an honest, sincere, complete, and competent way. Research practices that knowingly or deliberately deceive others must be avoided. Also, researchers must ensure that the integrity of their work is maintained to the greatest degree possible. Transparency can be a crucial step in this regard. It can include disclosing a relevant conflict of interest to appropriate entities such as a funding source, a journal editor, or an institutional committee.
As best as they can, researchers should seek to ensure that they clearly communicate with the public. This is especially important if a researcher has good reason to believe that the public might be harmed. Though it can be difficult to determine whether and how to reveal research findings, especially if proprietary information is involved, protecting the public should be a researcher’s foremost ethical concern. As the fundamental canon of engineering codes of ethics states, it is vital that “the safety, health, and welfare of the public” is upheld in professional practice and in research activities.
Another responsibility that researchers have is to avoid practices that erode the public's trust. For example, if researchers use funds from a federal grant purely for their own personal benefit, not only is this unethical and illegal, but it abuses the trust that the public has placed in researchers and in institutions like Georgia Tech.