Ethics in research question

Michael Holloway ak949 at yfn.ysu.edu
Wed Aug 18 02:53:31 EST 1993


In a previous article, farestam at cerfacs.fr (Stefan Farestam) says:

> The story you tell does in no way surprise me.  I know (by first
> hand experience) that there are people out there who will forge
> papers, i.e. take a paper published somewhere (usually in a
> lesser known journal), change a few figures and resubmit it
> elsewhere with their own name.  Unethical behaviour seems to be
> an everyday occurence, to a non neglible degree.  Unfortunately
> it seems to be just as bad in the US as it is in Europe.

Yikes!  I don't think my scenario is in that league.  I would submit though
that tolerating questionable, gray area, actions like those in my scenario
is currently teaching graduate students that unethical behavior is acceptable
so long as you don't get caught.  The gray area keeps getting pushed out 
until the student no longer has any clear indication of what is wrong.

Perhaps there should be more effort made to examining why people in the
field do these things and then action taken to remove the motivation.  I don't
necessarily mean giving everybody funding.  Plagiarism, using other's
unpublished works, faking results - these should all be things that are
unconnected to why someone would want to do research.  I believe that their
occurance is the direct result of an inappropriate emphasis on personal
ambition within higher education and professional education.  Unethical
behavior has a function when all you're really interested in is personal
advantage.  If you're not really interested in the work, for the work's sake,
then there is no reason to defend it's integrity.  Look at the medical
profession, for example.  Entering students no longer need to even pretend
that they want to get into medicine for the sake of helping out.  The students
are actually selected on the basis of high personal ambition.

-- 
Michael Holloway
E-mail: mhollowa at ccmail.sunysb.edu (mail to freenet is forwarded)
phone: (516)444-3090


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From: ak949 at yfn.ysu.edu (Michael Holloway)
Newsgroups: bionet.general
Subject: Re: Ethics in research question
Date: 17 Aug 1993 17:30:25 GMT
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Reply-To: ak949 at yfn.ysu.edu (Michael Holloway)
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