Educating students and future researchers about academic misconduct and questionable collaboration practices
Published on Dec 1, 2018in The International Journal for Educational Integrity
· DOI :10.1007/s40979-018-0034-9
Academic education largely concerns knowledge and skills. Where there is attention to ethics, this tends to focus on study-related misconduct such as plagiarising assignments and, more recently, methodological misconduct. The current paper argues that it is also essential to teach students about social misconduct in science, with a focus on questionable collaboration practices. First, this would increase future early career researchers’ ability to succeed and avoid academic snares. Enhancing this ability would appear to be an ethical responsibility going hand-in-hand with our attempts at endowing students with skills that we know could be exploited. Second, such teaching would establish authoritative norms about collaborative practices that are and are not acceptable. This would help to adjust scientific attitudes in next generations of graduates, to the benefit of both themselves and science. Teaching on science-specific social misconduct would also naturally tie in with addressing general forms of antisocial conduct which also occur in academia, such as bullying or sexual harassment. The paper provides a framework for defining and recognizing questionable collaboration practices, and for how to provide students with the attitudes, concepts and skills necessary to protect themselves as they enter the reality of the academic arena.