How useful is ethics class?

PhD students and postdocs who get training in responsible conduct in research (RCR) don't absorb the lessons, especially when they've seen others break the rules before, according to a recent linkurl:report;http://www.informaworld.com/openurl?genre=article&issn=0898-9621&volume=15&issue=1&spage=30 in the journal __Accountability in Research: Policies & Quality Assurance.__ Main message: Getting rules in ethics classes is useless if the scientific community doesn't obey the rules, too. The auth

Edyta Zielinska
Jan 13, 2008
PhD students and postdocs who get training in responsible conduct in research (RCR) don't absorb the lessons, especially when they've seen others break the rules before, according to a recent linkurl:report;http://www.informaworld.com/openurl?genre=article&issn=0898-9621&volume=15&issue=1&spage=30 in the journal __Accountability in Research: Policies & Quality Assurance.__ Main message: Getting rules in ethics classes is useless if the scientific community doesn't obey the rules, too. The authors write, "The absence of enforced rules that are agreed to by the entire scientific community makes achieving adherence to a purported standard very difficult." The authors interviewed students who participated in RCR lectures. Excerpts of interviewer (I), participant (P) comments are available via the blog linkurl:Medical Writing, Editing & Grantsmanship.;http://writedit.wordpress.com/2008/01/11/street-vs-book-rcr-smarts/ The following is one example of where the "absence of enforced" or specific rules, such as courtesy or honorary authorship, makes some ethical standards seem open for interpretation: __I: How do you feel about courtesy authorship or honorary authorship?...
k the rules before, according to a recent linkurl:report;http://www.informaworld.com/openurl?genre=article&issn=0898-9621&volume=15&issue=1&spage=30 in the journal __Accountability in Research: Policies & Quality Assurance.__ Main message: Getting rules in ethics classes is useless if the scientific community doesn't obey the rules, too. The authors write, "The absence of enforced rules that are agreed to by the entire scientific community makes achieving adherence to a purported standard very difficult." The authors interviewed students who participated in RCR lectures. Excerpts of interviewer (I), participant (P) comments are available via the blog linkurl:Medical Writing, Editing & Grantsmanship.;http://writedit.wordpress.com/2008/01/11/street-vs-book-rcr-smarts/ The following is one example of where the "absence of enforced" or specific rules, such as courtesy or honorary authorship, makes some ethical standards seem open for interpretation: __I: How do you feel about courtesy authorship or honorary authorship? P: I'm for it. I: You are? P: I think in some situations. I've worked with people in the last few years who are known in the field a lot more than I am because I'm starting and actually I was thinking about writing up a paper, and in this situation, I think sometimes if you can put their name on a paper, even if it has a small contribution and then it goes to a journal where they've seen their name before, sometimes that can be the difference, whether it diminishes your work or not it gives you a better standpoint. (Ph.D. student with prior informal RCR training)__ Questions of who deserves authorship are raised every time any scientist publishes, but some researchers have developed clearer criteria for their own labs. Read __The Scientist's__ article on how some labs are "Bringing Order to Authorship, " linkurl:here.;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/53743/. First author Richard Mcgee and colleagues conclude that responsible conduct of research training will only be successful if taught in context of what researchers have already learned, and it should be reinforced frequently. If young researchers see a lack of consistency in how the scientific community deals with authorship they are likely to "refused to accept [a higher standard of authorship]." Look out for our February issue, in which C. Neal Stewart Jr. and J. Lannett Edwards discuss their approach to teaching a successful research ethics class.

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