Ethics in Research: Share your views April 15, 2009Posted by Sarah in politics, science.
Tags: astronomy, ethics, misconduct, physics, plagiarism, polls, research, science
In the last few days I’ve been thinking a lot about ethics in physics and astronomy. While in astronomy we don’t have to navigate the perilous minefield of research on people or animals, proper scientific conduct is still considered to be an essential requirement for a career in astronomy. But what defines “proper scientific conduct”, or its counterpart, the dreaded “misconduct”, and who writes those definitions? Plagiarism is the one form of misconduct students are taught from undergraduate level to avoid at all cost. How far does the definition of plagiarism actually stretch, and why? And does that make sense? Moreover, what is the punishment, and who should it be administered by?While these issues are often presented in very black and white terms, once you dig below the surface they are really pretty murky.
Here is a poll that I’m very interested to see the answers to. I’m assuming that no lives are at stake in any of these situations, no pharmaceutical companies standing to gain billions of dollars. I’ll write up what I find in the next few days!