Ethics in research question

Tue Aug 17 03:31:41 EST 1993

Stephen Gisselbrecht writes:

> In article <E4B4EE3053 at> SPLUHAR at CROP.UOGUELPH.CA
> >
> >Michael Halloway writes:
> >
> >> What, if anything, should the grad student do or say?
> >
> >He should probably try to stall them and come up with some excuse
> >not to reveal the data and rush to publish his results. Although
> >its sad that he would have to resort to such tactics, but it would
> >probably be a matter of survival in his case. After all finishing
> >your thesis without any original results can hurt your career.
> >
> >He should also try very hard to convince his supervisor to break off
> >the colaboration with the big lab.
>     Why stall them?  I'm just another grad. student here, so maybe I'm
> completely naive, but why not just say "No, I'm sorry, you have an
> abominable track record with regard to the data that I've shown you so
> far.  I'm afraid you'll have to wait until it's published."
>     It's impolitic, I'm sure, but somebody has to stand up to bullies,
> don't they?  Otherwise, they just keep getting their way by bullying.

Ok your point's well taken. The reason I suggested stalling is to give
the graduate student time to convince his advissor that ties with the
large lab should be broken off. In essence what stalling would do is
give him a chance to present his side of the story to his supervisor
first, rather than having the big lab call his supervisor and saying:
"that graduate student of yours is really paranoid we called him with
a simple request he  made all these accusations".

Alot of the responce depends on the students relationship with his
advisor and on how much that advisor values a continuing relationship
with the big lab. By this time they should both be fed up with the
big lab.

Now if he's pritty sure his supervisor is also fed up with the big lab
and would trust what he says over what the big lab says ( one would
think the advisor would side with his student, but the example didn't
state that and I was covering all possibilities) then the responce
you suggested is probably better than mine.

There is one other reason for stalling and thats to try to avoid
getting them suspicious of the fact that you've caught on to what
there doing. If the data is that important, and they realize that they
are not going to get it, they could simply redouble there efforts and
scoop the student anyway. Granted stalling may still cause them to
redouble their efforts but it might buy enough time to avoid being

On the whole my suggestions may sound rather gutless, but I have a
friend who did stand up for her rights against some pritty unethical
people who were in a more powerfull position than her and they dest-
royed her teaching career permanently. So one does have to be carful
when it comes to making enemies.

>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

------ Internet Message Header Follows ------
Newsgroups: bionet.general
Subject: Re: Ethics in research question
Message-ID: <F86F811E4D at>
Date: 17 Aug 93 01:34:48 GMT
Sender: daemon at
Distribution: bionet
Organization: Crop Science, The Univ. of Guelph
Lines: 64

More information about the Bioforum mailing list