Wednesday, May 4, 2011

University Research

When you enter college, you have the opportunity to work as an assistant at many levels as you progress through your course of studies.  Whether you choose engineering, business administration, life sciences and medicine, or physical sciences, you will be held to the same general code of conduct.  All colleges and universities publish their codes of conduct.  These apply to the classroom, of course.  Cheating and plagiarism are never tolerated.  With research, the standards are higher, defined more completely, and applied more broadly. 

The website has a recent (February 2012) blog entry, "The 10 Greatest Cases of Fraud in University Research."  Here is the link.

The Integrity in Scholarship webpages of the University of Mchigan Office of the Vice President for Research here describe in full detail what is expected.  That means both how they expect you to fulfill your obligations, as well as what they expect you to know.
Generally, nothing here should be surprising, confusing, or arguable.  This has been worked out over many years by many people.  Also, several interesting cases have tested the limits of these policies and they always stand up.

Stated one way or another. every college has these rules.

Misconduct in the pursuit of scholarship and research includes at least the following major offenses:
  • Fabrication of data: dishonesty in reporting results, ranging from fabrication of data, improper adjustment of results, and gross negligence in collecting or analyzing data to selective reporting or omission of conflicting data for deceptive purposes:
  • Plagiarism: taking credit for someone else’s work and ideas, stealing others’ results or methods, copying the writing of others without proper acknowledgment, or otherwise falsely taking credit for the work or ideas of another;
  • Abuse of confidentiality: taking or releasing the ideas or data of others which were shared with the legitimate expectation of confidentiality, e.g., stealing ideas from others’ grant proposals, award applications, or manuscripts for publication when one is a reviewer for granting agencies or journals;
  • Falsification in research: deliberately misrepresenting research, including the progress of research, to a research sponsor;
  • Dishonesty in publication: knowingly publishing material that will mislead readers, e.g., misrepresenting data, particularly its originality, misrepresenting research progress, or adding the names of other authors without permission;
  • Deliberate violation of regulations: flagrant and repeated failure to adhere to or to receive the approval required for work under research regulations of Federal, State, local or University agencies, including, but not limited to, guidelines for the:
  • protection of human subjects
  • protection of animal subjects
  • use of recombinant DNA
  • use of radioactive material
  • use of hazardous chemicals or biologicals
  • conduct of classified research
  • Property violations: stealing or destroying property of others, such as research papers, supplies, equipment, or products of research or scholarship;
  • Failure to report observed major offenses: covering up or otherwise failing to report major offenses or breaches of research ethics by others that one has observed.
  • Retaliation: taking punitive action against an individual for having reported alleged major offenses.
"Plagiarists have been demoted, dismissed from their schools, from their jobs, and their degrees and honors have been rescinded as a result of their misdeeds (Standler, 2000)."
On the ORI website is the case of a researcher who had 15 ethical violations. The first two charges against him included falsification of PowerPoint presentations.

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