create new tag
, view all tags, tagging instructions
Return to Browse by

Return to RCR Case Studies

Please Comment on the Teaching Quality of the CASE


Please rate the graphic:

  • 5 stars = highest rating
  • 1 star = lowest rating
  • SCORE = average of all votes
Graph Rating
Score: 0, My vote: 0, Total votes: 0

EthicsCaseStudyForm edit

Title "Gifting" your data to another
Long Title "Gifting" your data to another
Contributor/Contact Michele a. Carter, PhD (mcarter@utmb.edu)
Contributor Details Michele A. Carter, PhD
Director, Ethics Support Key Resource, Institute for Translational Sciences
CTSA UTMB Galveston
Case Study Provided Since Dunn's laboratory section has an odd number of students, Elaine Estoban has chosen to work on her own rather than in a group of three. She works very hard during lab periods and has done well in the course. One evening while reviewing her data, she discovers that they make no sense. There is no line generated when the results are plotted, and Estoban is at a loss as to what to do. She calls Dunn to ask for advice. As far as they can tell, Estoban has been plotting the data properly and understands the principles the experiment was designed to demonstrate. Dunn says that Estoban should take his own data set, modify it a bit, and then use that to write her report. Dunn dictates his data to Estoban over the phone, and Estoban then does as Dunn suggests to prepare her report.

See the "Other" box for questions and discussion.

Data Acquisition, Management, Sharing and Ownership Topics No Data acquisition_management_sharing and ownership Topics
Mentor and Trainee Responsibilities Topics No mentor and trainee responsibilities topics
Publication Practices and Responsible Authorship Topics No publication practices and responsible authorship topics
Peer Review Topics No peer review topics
Collaborative Science Topics No collaborative science topics
Research Misconduct Topics
Other serious deviations from scientific best practices
Conflicts of Interest, Law and Policy Topics No conflicts of interest_law_and policy topics
Human Subjects

Citation SOURCE: Research Ethics: Cases and Materials, Indiana University Press, Edited by Robin Levin Penslar, Bloomington and Indianapolis, 1995, pp. 52, 53.

RCR Keyword Research Misconduct, Lab Partners, Students
Other RCR Keywords Fabrication, Falsification, Cheating, Data interpretation
Case Difficulty Quick
Type of Case

Source for Topic Areas Du Bois, J., & Dueker, J. (2009). Teaching and Assessing the Responsible Conduct of Research: A Delphi Consensus Panel Report. Journal of Research Administration, 40(1), 49-70.

Other Questions for Discussion
1. Are Estoban's actions ethical? Why or why not?
2. Are Dunn's actions ethical? Why or why not? Neither Dunnís nor Estobanís action are ethical; they agree together to cheat.
4. Ms. Estoban at least attempted to collect and interpret data and understood what the lab was about. Nonetheless, it was entirely inappropriate to use someone elseís data as your own, even if that person gave you permission to do so. It would have been better for Ms. Estoban to plot her curves using her own data, even if the results didnít fit what was expected; perhaps she could have offered explanations for why the data didnít match the usual results. There is also the serious issue that Dunnís lab partner was not informed that his data was being given to someone else.
If you were the instructor for this biology course and discovered what your students were doing, what action would you take in each case (for instance, do nothing, talk to the student, give the student a zero on the particular report involved, fail the student in the course, or report the students involved to the campus student ethics committee)?
5. What if Dunn's lab partner recognizes the data in Estoban's report as the data that he and Dunn accumulated. What should he do? This raises the difficult issue of ďwhistle-blower.Ē Some students may think the lab partner should confront only Dunn and Estoban; others will think the lab partner should report the cheating to the instructor.
Topic revision: r3 - 13 Nov 2011 - 19:37:42 - MarkYarborough
Copyright &© by the contributing authors. All material on this collaboration platform is the property of the contributing authors.
Ideas, requests, problems regarding CTSPedia? Send feedback