Ethics in research question

hlniob!han at nl.nluug.relay hlniob!han at nl.nluug.relay
Mon Aug 16 03:03:12 EST 1993

The mailing by Michael Holloway about unethical professional
behaviour by some of our esteemed colleagues in the US struck me
as slighty odd. Apart from the fact that hardly anybody would
call the big lab's actions ethically correct (even the people in
that lab wouldn't, I guess, but neither would they admit acting
unethically), several things seemd strange to me. Why post it in
the first place? Hardly likely that it would start a discussion
on the pros and cons of 'borrowing' somebody else's work. And
even more unlikely that it would change the ways of the perps (If
they were sensitive to ethical arguments, they would not do these
things in the first place). Lastly, why all this 'hypothetical'
stuff? Who does Michael think he is fooling? He didn't even sign
his name & address (it was in the header, ofcourse). If one
argues for more honesty in the profession, shouldn't one do so
completely openly?

Ofcourse I agree that all this `borrowing' is doing no end of
harm to having discussions about the results of all our hard
work. But I don't see how that can be changed, unless we create
ourselves a electronic journal (see elsewhere) and treat that the
same way as we do paper journals. Being naive and going on
trusting everybody certainly won't help. Choosing your friends/-
collaborators with care might.

Sorry to sound so cynical! Good luck & success
Johannes G. Schilthuis, E-mail: Han at Hubrecht.NL
Netherlands Institute for Developmental Biology
Utrecht, the Netherlands

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