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EthicsCaseStudyForm edit

Title When The Authors Can’t Write English
Long Title When The Authors Can’t Write English
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 I recall an uncomfortable period in a lab where I worked a few years ago. The lab was productive, and the personnel worked reasonably well together. We had a number of very intelligent and hard-working investigators who were trained in foreign countries—some of them with MDs—but their English writing skills were poor. Nevertheless, these individuals conceived the experimental designs of their projects and collected and interpreted the data. Somehow, though, they managed to get the project’s PI to write their papers entirely, but with them as first, second, etc., authors and with the PI as last.
The PI was comfortable with this arrangement. The problem arose when a postdoc was asked to write these investigators’ papers. She didn’t like the arrangement one bit. As far as she was concerned, she hadn’t participated in the investigators’ research and so shouldn’t be writing their papers. And even if she had participated to some extent, she felt that writing their papers entirely by herself was unreasonably time-consuming. Furthermore, she argued that if she would write such a paper entirely by herself, then she deserved first authorship, regardless of the amount of work she devoted to the project itself.
A sort of truce was reached when the postdoc let everyone know that if she became more involved in the investigators’ research from the beginning, she would be willing to do the writing if they did most of the data gathering. She still objected, though, to the investigators being listed as first authors without their writing or editing anything. But she compromised on a number of occasions to maintain peace and productivity.
Sometime later, both she and I left the lab. I’ve often wondered whether this situation continued.
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,
Scientific responsibilities of the mentor,
Nonscientific responsibilities of roles of the mentor
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
Types of collaboration,
Working well with others,
Dealing with challenges in collaborative relationships
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
Citation International Committee of Medical Journal Editors. Uniform requirements for manuscripts submitted to the biomedical journals: Writing and editing for biomedical publication. 2009.
URL http://www.actsi.org/areas/erks/ethics/index.html / http://www.icmje.org/
RCR Keyword Research Paper, Intellectual Work, Lab Partners, Manuscript, Mentoring, Post-doc
Other RCR Keywords Author Assignment; Compromise; Editing; Experimental Designs; Ghostwriter; ICMJE Guidelines; Lab; MDs; Non-English Investigators; Poor English Writing Skills; Significant Intellectual Contribution
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 - 13:54:59 - MarkYarborough
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