The people who do science represent a vast array of interests and objectives. There is a central principle, nonetheless, that links and guides their work. The National Academy of Sciences' Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy has articulated clearly the nature of this principle:
The scientific research enterprise is built on a foundation of trust. Scientists trust that the results reported by others are valid. Society trusts that the results of research reflect an honest attempt by scientists to describe the world accurately and without bias. But this trust will endure only if the scientific community devotes itself to exemplifying and transmitting the values associated with ethical scientific conduct.