Standards of Professionalism: Research and Academic Responsibilities

The orthopaedic profession exists for the primary purpose of caring for the patient. As a member of this profession, an orthopaedic surgeon may often conduct or participate in research and academic endeavors that may lead to improvements in musculoskeletal services provided to patients.

Under the AAOS Professional Compliance Program as adopted in April 2005, the fellowship votes on all Standards of Professionalism. Standards of Professionalism establish the minimum standards of acceptable conduct for orthopaedic surgeons in a particular area. Standard of Professionalism are mandatory and apply to all fellows and members of the AAOS.

The Standards of Professionalism draw from the aspirational Code of Medical Ethics and Professionalism for Orthopaedic Surgeons that appears in bold italics. The statements that follow the aspirational Code establish the baseline standards of acceptable conduct for orthopaedic surgeons who engage in research or who author or present information to other orthopaedic surgeons or the public. Violations of these standards may serve as grounds for a formal complaint to and action by the AAOS as outlined in Article VIII of the Bylaws of the American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons.

These Standards of Professionalism apply to all AAOS fellows and members in their capacity as researchers or authors and presenters valued for their knowledge and expertise. Only an AAOS fellow or member may file complaints of an alleged violation of these Standards of Professionalism regarding another AAOS fellow or member.

Aspirational: AAOS Code of Medical Ethics and Professionalism for Orthopaedic Surgeons, VIII. A.: All research and academic activities must be conducted under conditions of full compliance with ethical, institutional and governmental guidelines. Patients participating in research programs must have given full informed consent and retain the right to withdraw from the research protocol at any time.

Mandatory Standards:

Aspirational: AAOS Code of Medical Ethics and Professionalism for Orthopaedic Surgeons, VIII. B.: Orthopaedic surgeons should not claim as their own intellectual property that which is not theirs. Plagiarism or the use of others’ work without attribution is unethical.

Mandatory Standards:

Aspirational: AAOS Code of Medical Ethics and Professionalism for Orthopaedic Surgeons, VIII. C.: The principal investigator of a scientific research project or clinical research project is responsible for proposing, designing and reporting the research. The principal investigator may delegate portions of the work to other individuals, but this does not relieve the principal investigator of the responsibility for work conducted by the other individuals.

Mandatory Standards:

Aspirational: AAOS Code of Medical Ethics and Professionalism for Orthopaedic Surgeons, VIII. D.: The principal investigator or senior author of a scientific report is responsible for ensuring that appropriate credit is given for contributions to the research described.

Mandatory Standards:


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