Ethics in research question

Tue Aug 17 11:36:51 EST 1993

Michael Holloway writes:

> Stephen A. Pluhar writes:
> >I would say that what the big lab did here is the moral equivalent
> >of plagerism. The fact that no joint publication is offered and no
> >reprimand is given to the students which stole the data would indi-
> >cate to me that the big lab can't be trusted.
> I think that raises two separate issues.  The students hadn't
> actually stolen the data, but they did not find it worthwhile to
> consider the interests of the small lab that was generating the
> work.  It would be the moral equivalent of plagerism if collegiality
> were of greater value than competition.

I happen to think that collegiality should be of greater value.
Science works best when there is a free flow of ideas. If competition
is too cut throat then this flow will end. The impediment of the
flow of ideas reduces the ability of reseachers to learn from each
other. Also this cut throat form of competition could lead some
scintists to give false data inorder to mislead their competitors
leading to waisted research time and money. Lets not forget that
that money comes from the public. If the government sees its money
squandered it may dicide not to support scientific research. So
too much competition could slow down the progress of science rather
than enhance it.

> >> Does this, for instance, explain why so little substantive
> >> discussion of personal research takes place over netnews?
> >It might be. Although netnews would seem to be a perfact way to
> >establish priority since all the articles are archived and their
> >time of transmission is recorded.
> But how would the results be evaluated?  I could say I have certain
> results, but it might be more wishful thinking than reality.  I
> think that priority would have to come with clear and convincing
> evidence of the observations.  Maybe an electronic journal?  I'd
> like to see that happen.
I was actually suggesting something like an electronic journal.
Although I was probably not clear enough in my discription.

I see your playing devil's advocate now ;-)

Stephen A. Pluhar
SPLUHAR at CROP.UOGUELPH.CA           Dept. Crop Science  U. of Guelph
Phone: 519-824-4120 Ext. 4865      Guelph, Ontario, Canada. N1G 2W1

More information about the Bioforum mailing list