NBER Expectations for Professional Conduct

The National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) is a private, nonprofit, nonpartisan research organization dedicated to undertaking and disseminating unbiased economic research among public policymakers, business professionals, and the academic community. The NBER's greatest asset is its reputation for scholarly integrity. Affiliated researchers are expected to conduct their affairs in ways that will not compromise their reputations, nor reflect adversely on the integrity of the NBER.

Financial Conflict of Interest

One important aspect of research integrity is attention to the possibility of conflicts of interest. A financial conflict of interest occurs when an individual's private interests, and his or her professional obligations to the NBER, diverge in ways that might lead an independent observer to reasonably question whether the individuals' professional actions or decisions are influenced by considerations of personal financial gain. The existence of such situations implies neither wrong-doing nor inappropriate activity. However, their presence in the research setting can compromise, or be perceived as compromising, the integrity of research findings. For this reason, it is essential that all NBER-affiliated researchers understand how to identify, disclose, and manage such potentially divergent interests.

The NBER has adopted a policy to ensure the integrity of research disseminated in the NBER working paper series and other NBER publications, as well as research carried out under its auspices. The NBER has a

Research Dissemination Disclosure Policy.

An additional policy applies to all investigators undertaking externally sponsored research at the NBER, The NBER's

Research Financial Conflict of Interest Policy

complies with the requirements of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services final rule of 2011, which amends the Public Health Service (PHS) regulations on Responsibility of Applicants for Promoting Objectivity in Research for which PHS Funding is Sought (42 C.F.R. Part 50, Subpart F).

Research Misconduct

A second important aspect of research integrity is avoiding research misconduct, and addressing allegations of research misconduct should they occur. The NBER treats allegations of research very seriously. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Research Integrity defines research misconduct as fabrication, falsification, or plagiarism in proposing, performing, or reviewing research, or in reporting research results.

(a) Fabrication is making up data or results and recording or reporting them.

(b) Falsification is manipulating research materials, equipment, or processes, or changing or omitting data or results such that the research is not accurately represented in the research record.

(c) Plagiarism is the appropriation of another person's ideas, processes, results, or words without giving appropriate credit.

(d) Research misconduct does not include honest error or differences of opinion.


Policy on Handling Potential Research Misconduct

is a set of policy and procedures intended to carry out NBER's responsibilities under the Public Health Service (PHS) Policies on Research Misconduct, 42 CFR Part 93, and 65 FR 76260. This policy complies with standards set by the Department of Health and Human Services, the National Science Foundation, and the Institute of Education Sciences.

Professional Conduct

Respect for the individual dignity of everyone at the NBER is of utmost importance. The NBER is committed to providing a work environment that is free from all forms of discrimination and conduct that can be considered harassing, coercive or disruptive, including sexual harassment and/or abusive behavior.

Affiliation with the NBER – as a Research Associate elected by the Board of Directors or as a Faculty Research Fellow appointed by the President – is a privilege that enables a researcher to participate in a scholarly community. When participating in NBER meetings, carrying out research in connection with NBER-administered grants and otherwise, and discharging their other professional responsibilities, all NBER affiliates are expected to behave in accord with standard principles of scientific integrity and professional ethics. The NBER Board of Directors has adopted a

Professional Code of Conduct for NBER Researchers

Conference Behavior

The NBER convenes many research meetings throughout the year. The

Conference Code of Conduct

applies to all paper presenters, discussants and conference participants. This Code of Conduct is distributed with all invitations to NBER conferences and it is also referenced on the program for all meetings.

Harassment-Free Workplace

The NBER is committed to maintaining a workplace free from sexual harassment. The

NBER Sexual Harassment Prevention Policy

is one component of NBER's commitment to a discrimination-free work environment. Sexual harassment is against the law and all employees have a legal right to a workplace free from sexual harassment. Employees are urged to report sexual harassment by filing a complaint internally with NBER. Employees can also file a complaint with a government agency or in court under federal, state or local anti-discrimination laws.

NBER Ombudsperson

The NBER has retained an Ombudsperson, Robyn Klinger (ombuds@nber.org), who can serve as a confidential, impartial, and informal resource for members of our community. She helps individuals manage conflicts, express concerns, and resolve disputes without fear of retaliation, by providing impartial attention in a confidential setting. Further details on her role in our organization are described in the Ombudsperson Terms of Engagement.

Ombudsperson Terms of Engagement

Protection for Whistleblowers

The NBER has a

Whistleblower Policy

to protect anyone who reports an activity or suspected activity that he or she reasonably and in good faith considers to be illegal, fraudulent, dishonest, or in violation of any adopted policy of the NBER to one or more of the parties specified in this policy.