The JPL Ethics Office

Ethics in Research

It is the responsibility of all JPL employees to conduct and report research in such a way as to uphold the longstanding tradition of research excellence enjoyed by the Laboratory and Caltech and to avoid damage to the general enterprise of academic research.


Managers/supervisors are responsible for promoting compliance with ethical research standards and ensuring that employees reporting to them are familiar with the standards of conduct expected from them. They are also responsible to act as a resource for their employees in resolving ethical concerns.


The recognition of others is a key element of research integrity. Employees must exercise care in giving credit for ideas and inventions, both orally and in writing, to the co-investigators, sources and other contributors. When in doubt contact the Ethics Office, Documentation Services or the Office of the Chief Scientist for assistance.


Examples of Possible Research Misconduct


  • A supervisor claims credit for work performed by subordinates in which he had very little or no involvement.


  • Falsifying data on an experiment in a report to the sponsor.


  • Failure to acknowledge contributions of others in a report or journal article.


  • Failure to disclose results of tests that do not support desired results.

For additional information, please refer to JPL Rules! DocID 58713 Research Misconduct, Rev. 2 or refer to JPL Guidelines for Ethics in Research.