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 CASE:

  • 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 The Overly Nice Advisor
Long Title The Overly Nice Advisor
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 George Washington is one of two postdocs working in Dr. Big’s lab. The other postdoc, Dee Nye, is older and has more years of experience than George, but although she is approaching the end of her postdoc term, she has no first-author publications nor has she received any extramural grants. Because Dee will need to leave the lab soon and find a position elsewhere, there is a keen desire on her and on Dr. Big’s parts to make her marketable. Compounding her overall lack of productivity is the fact that Dee does not get along very well with her co-workers; her presentations are poorly delivered; and her experimental designs are frequently flawed.
Dr. Big likes George and tells him that he (i.e., Dr. Big) has taken it upon himself to write a manuscript with Dee as primary author and that he will create all the necessary figures, albeit using Dee’s data. He also tells George that he has written a rather complimentary letter for Dee and embellished her qualifications in order to improve her job prospects.
George thinks that it is exceedingly unfair that Dee can be so unproductive and unprofessional in the lab, yet emerge from this with someone else writing her manuscripts and providing a glowing letter of recommendation. When he confesses this to Dr. Big, Dr. Big answers, “I know, I know. But someday you’ll have to manage a situation like this, and you’ll just want to be rid of this person. Besides, if I want to make her the first author on a paper, I have that authority, don’t I?”
George is not convinced by Dr. Big’s argument, but he isn’t going to quarrel with Dr. Big and he certainly won’t miss Dee Nye. Nevertheless, Dr. Big’s behaviors seem ethically problematic.
Data Acquisition, Management, Sharing and Ownership Topics No Data acquisition_management_sharing and ownership Topics
Mentor and Trainee Responsibilities Topics
Power relationships and the potential problems they involve,
Scientific responsibilities of the mentor,
Nonscientific responsibilities of roles of the mentor,
Addressing challenges and problems in the mentor–trainee relationship
Publication Practices and Responsible Authorship Topics
Authorship assignment,
Inappropriate authorship practices,
Dealing with controversies that arise in authorship,
Scientific responsibilities of authors
Peer Review Topics No peer review topics
Collaborative Science Topics No collaborative science topics
Research Misconduct Topics No research misconduct topics
Conflicts of Interest, Law and Policy Topics No conflicts of interest_law_and policy topics
Human Subjects No human subjects


RCR Keyword Intellectual Work, Lab Notes, Collaboration, Lab Partners, Mentoring, Post-doc
Other RCR Keywords Abilities and Interpersonal Behaviors; Extramural Grants; First-author Publications; Good Mentor; Lab; Letter of Recommendation; Marketable; Mentees; Mentoring Conduct; Misrepresent; Moral Behavior; Productivity; Professional Conduct and Skills
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.
References 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: r1 - 31 Oct 2011 - 13:44:02 - 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