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EthicsCaseStudyForm edit

Title I Can't Say No
Long Title I Can't Say No: The Pressures of Assigning Authorship
Contributor/Contact John Banja, PhD (jbanja@emory.edu)
Contributor Details John Banja, PhD
Director, Section on Ethics in Research
Atlanta Clinical and Translational Science Institute
Emory University
Atlanta, GA 30322
CTSA Emory
Case Study Provided A few years ago, I did something distinctly unethical.
I was in the process of submitting a paper, which had gone through all its revisions and been approved by all the investigators in the study. Literally at the time I was uploading the paper into the manuscript submission site, I was contacted by one of the investigators.
She wanted me to add the names of three more people. They worked in the same department as she, and they all had a mutual agreement to put each other's names on papers they were submitting. These additional “authors” had allowed us to enroll several of their patients for the study, but they only had a general idea of what the study was about and definitely did not contribute anything of intellectual value to the paper.
My problem was that I was in no position to say no. Had I denied the request, these individuals could have kept me from completing my thesis which required their assistance to recruit patients. Also, they could have hindered my post-graduate job search. When I discussed all this with my advisor, he agreed that to add their names was unethical, but he too was powerless in dealing with the situation. So, the three were added.
To make matters worse, I found out later that the investigators receive bonus money from their department at the end of the year based on publications. I can't help but think such an inducement was in the back of their minds when they all agreed to put each other's names on any research papers they submitted.
And maybe the worst part of all this is that if the situation were to arise today with one of my students, I'd probably advise him or her to handle it as I did. The penalties for not playing along, even if the game is unethical, are too uninviting.
Data Acquisition, Management, Sharing and Ownership Topics No Data acquisition_management_sharing and ownership Topics
Mentor and Trainee Responsibilities Topics
Definitions and expectations of the mentor and trainee relationship,
Power relationships and the potential problems they involve,
Addressing challenges and problems in the mentor–trainee relationship
Publication Practices and Responsible Authorship Topics
The significance of authorship,
Authorship assignment,
Inappropriate authorship practices,
Dealing with controversies that arise in authorship
Peer Review Topics No peer review topics
Collaborative Science Topics
Working well with others,
Dealing with challenges in collaborative relationships,
The role of institutions in collaborative science
Research Misconduct Topics No research misconduct topics
Conflicts of Interest, Law and Policy Topics
Conflicts of commitment
Human Subjects No human subjects

URL http://www.actsi.org/areas/erks/ethics/index.html
RCR Keyword Research Paper, Intellectual Work, Collaboration, Manuscript, Mentoring
Other RCR Keywords Advisor; Contribution; Honorary Authorship; Intellectual Value; Job Search; Mutual Agreement; Penalties; Post-grad; Powerless; Research Paper; Unethical
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.


Topic revision: r2 - 28 Oct 2011 - 13:01:28 - MaryBanach
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