Ethics in research question

francis deck fdeck at
Wed Aug 18 09:40:33 EST 1993

Scientific ethics do not discourage competition entirely, but
a grad student's thesis topic is "off-limits" because of the
already unreasonable number of risks faced by a grad student,
the time constraint they are under, and because they do not 
have the stature to fight back.  It is not a level playing
field.  Therefore, I think that most reasonable scientists
(and non-scientists) agree:


It's not fair.  You can hurt a grad student by scooping him,
but in the long run, he/she can't hurt you by scooping a small
part of your research.  A small part of your career may be
an essential huge part of the grad student's.

If you find that your grad student is leading towards results
which might result in violation of this rule, you tell your
grad student:  "That's nice work, but you must drop it right
away."  If anyone asks the grad student, he will say:  I had
to drop that project because I discovered it belonged to
someone else, and I wanted to be fair.

notre dame

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