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EthicsCaseStudyForm edit

Title Playing By the Rules; Multipe Abstract Submissions
Long Title Playing By the Rules; Multipe Abstract Submissions
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
Atlanta, GA 30322
CTSA Emory
Case Study Provided It isnít terribly unusual for investigators to submit the same abstract for poster presentation to more than one conference. That way, the investigator, especially if he or she is a junior person, not only has a better chance of getting it accepted and enjoying the prestige of showing the poster in the exhibit hall, but also has an excuse for wangling some travel funds from his or her PI or lab director: ďI canít entirely afford to go to the conference, so I wonít be able to show this poster, which has been accepted and which has your name on it as a co-author incidentally. So, can you underwrite some of the costs?Ē

The problem with this not unfamiliar practice of multiple submissions of the same abstract is that it virtually always violates the submission rules of conferences, which make authors promise that they have not submitted the material elsewhere (since the idea of poster presentation is that the material is novel and that conference attendees are learning it for the first time).

But submitters know that because some of these conferences are so large, it is extremely unlikely that the same people will be refereeing posters for multiple conferences so that multiple submitters will be caught. Moreover, even if the same poster is accepted at two conferences, presenters can choose which one they want to go to and forego the other (so they remain in compliance with rules of never having or not planning to present the data elsewhere).

Perhaps the most common strategy for making sure you donít get caught is simply to vary the contents of each abstract submission a little. If both submissions are accepted, the author can plead that he believed they were essentially different from one another and that no violation of the program submission rules occurred. What is usually the case though, is that the abstracts differ very modestly and are largely look-alikes.

The practice is unfortunate, but the competition for presenting at the largest national conferences is keen. Submitters know that the likelihood of their getting caught with multiple submissions is very low; they also believe that the acceptance of abstracts is often very capricious and arbitrary and, therefore, they feel victimized by an unfair review process; and they believe that because a sufficiently large number of persons do it (or so they believe), the practice of multiple submissions is necessitated by the cut-throat competitiveness of science.

But I suppose itís not very ethical, right?
Data Acquisition, Management, Sharing and Ownership Topics

Mentor and Trainee Responsibilities Topics

Publication Practices and Responsible Authorship Topics
The significance of authorship,
Authorship assignment,
Inappropriate authorship practices,
Poor publication practices
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

URL http://www.actsi.org/areas/erks/ethics/index.html
RCR Keyword Peer Review, Students
Other RCR Keywords Abstract; Co-author; Exhibit Hall; Investigators; Lab Director; More than One Conference; Multiple Submissions; PI; Poster Presentation, Submission Rules of Conferences, Travel Funds
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: r1 - 02 Nov 2011 - 17:48:04 - DebieSchilling
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