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Using the concept of “deserved trust” to strengthen the value and integrity of biomedical research

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It is commonplace for science leaders and others to claim that the future of biomedical research rests in large part upon the public's trust. If true, it behooves the biomedical research community to understand how it avoids taking chances with that trust. This commentary, which builds upon comments of noted trust scholar Russell Hardin about how best to enjoy trust, assumes that the key to being trusted is deserving to be trusted. Thus, it proposes using "deserved trust" to identify ways that the public's trust in biomedical research could be better supported. Employing deserved trust to support the public's trust leads us to consider what it is that the biomedical research community should be trusted to do, examine the evidence about the effectiveness of current safeguards meant to assure that those things routinely get done, and identify new ways to equip individual researchers, research teams, and research institutions to assure that the public's trust in their research is deserved rather than misplaced.

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