Tag: plagiarism

Bioethics Blogs

Recapping the recent plagiarism scandal

Parts of the paper that are nearly identical to my blog

A year ago, I received a message from Anna Powell-Smith about a research paper that was a mirror image of a post I wrote on my personal blog1 roughly two years prior. The structure of the document was the same, as was the rationale, the methods, and the conclusions drawn. There were entire sentences that were identical to my post. Some wording changes were introduced, but the words were unmistakably mine. The authors had also changed some of the details of the methods, and in doing so introduced technical errors, which confounded proper replication. The paper had been press-released by the journal,2 and even noted by Retraction Watch.3

I checked my site’s analytics and found a record of a user from the University of Cambridge computer network accessing the blog post in question three times on 2015 December 7 and again on 2016 February 16, ten days prior to the original publication of the paper in question on 2016 February 26.4

At first, I was amused by the absurdity of the situation. The blog post was, ironically, a method for preventing certain kinds of scientific fraud. I was flattered that anyone noticed my blog at all, and I believed that academic publishing would have a means for correcting itself when the wrong people are credited with an idea. But as time went on, I became more and more frustrated by the fact that none of the institutions that were meant to prevent this sort of thing were working.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.

Bioethics News

Croatia’s Science Minister Rejects Call to Resign Amid Plagiarism Scandal

January 18, 2017

(Nature) – In a plagiarism scandal in Croatia, the country’s highest-level research ethics committee is clashing with its science minister — who says he won’t step down after the committee found he had copied another scholar’s work. Scientists say the case raises questions about academic integrity at the top of a research system that is already riven with misconduct allegations.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.

Bioethics Blogs

Announcement: 3rd Annual Oxford Uehiro Prize in Practical Ethics

Graduate and undergraduate students currently enrolled at the University of Oxford in any subject are invited to enter the Oxford Uehiro Prize in Practical Ethics by submitting an essay of up to 2000 words on any topic relevant to practical ethics.  Eligibility includes visiting students who are registered as recognized students, and paying fees, but does not include informal visitors.  Two undergraduate papers and two graduate papers will be shortlisted from those submitted to go forward to a public presentation and discussion, where the winner of each category will be selected.

The winner from each category will receive £300, and the runner up £100. All four finalist essays will be considered for publication in the Journal of Practical Ethics.

To enter, please submit your written papers by the end of 23rd January 2017 to rocci.wilkinson@philosophy.ox.ac.uk. Finalists will be notified in early to mid February. The public presentation will take place in 7th Week, Hilary term 2017. 

Detailed instructions

Stage 1: The Essay

The essay of up to 2000 words may cover any topic relevant to practical ethics. The question to be addressed should be stated clearly in bold at the outset. The focus of the marking will be on the quality and originality of your argument. References are therefore allowed but are not required.  The essay can draw upon existing published work but needs to be sufficiently original to be eligible for publication in the Journal of Practical Ethics.

Submissions should be prepared for blind review by our assessors. Please remove any identifying information from your manuscript (both as a pdf and a word document) and provide a title sheet on a separate file with the title of your essay, your name and contact details, including email.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.

Bioethics Blogs

My Experience with Texas Campus Carry Laws as a New Professor

by Keisha Ray, Ph.D.

Like many other new assistant professors across America, I spent the weeks before the beginning of the new fall semester in orientations covering everything from my university’s tenure requirements to how to fill out my health insurance forms to how to get a campus ID card. Because I am a new assistant professor at a public university in the state of Texas, my orientation also included briefings on the new campus carry laws.

On August 1st students (who have met other requirements for owning a weapon such as age, permits, etc.) were granted legal permission to carry a concealed weapon on the grounds of public universities in Texas, making it the eighth state in the USA to do so. Faculty and students at my own institution seem to be generally uncomfortable with this new law if the students in my classes, flyers handed out by students in front of the library, and watercooler talk among faculty who wondered if they could get our department to pay for bulletproof vests are representative of the sentiment about campus carry laws.

This new law was a part of my new job before I was even offered the position. During my campus interview, after giving my final roundtable interview with the department chair and other faculty members, I waited in the lobby while the group deliberated and decided my fate with the department. While waiting a student approached me and asked if she could interview me and ask my opinion on the impending campus carry law (this was a few months before the law was to be enacted) for a class project.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.

Bioethics Blogs

Plagiarism: It is a Big Deal

by Nanette Elster, JD, MPH

Election season is in full swing, with the Republican National Convention in Cleveland this week, and the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia next week. In an effort to get things off on a bright note, Melania Trump gave a speech on the first day of the GOP convention praising her husband. Citizens want a sense of who Donald Trump is as a father, husband, and citizen, not a sense of someone else. Unfortunately, that was what viewers were treated to when Mrs. Trump, though poised and sincere, delivered a speech that not only echoed the sentiments of Michelle Obama talking about her husband, but actually used First Lady Obama’s words, verbatim. In academia, we have a word for that . . . it is called plagiarism. According to the Harvard Guide to Using Sources, “it is considered plagiarism to draw any idea or any language from someone else without adequately crediting that source in your paper. It doesn’t matter whether the source is a published author, another student, a Web site without clear authorship, a Web site that sells academic papers, or any other person: Taking credit for anyone else’s work is stealing, and it is unacceptable in all academic situations, whether you do it intentionally or by accident.”

The Trump campaign, however, initially resisted criticism that Melania and/or her speech writer(s) lifted the words of another author without proper attribution. According to Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort, accusations that Melania Trump plagiarized Michelle Obama are not accurate and she just used “common words” to talk about issues that are important to her like “family values.”

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.

Bioethics Blogs

STAP Scientist Stripped of PhD

The STAP stem cell fiasco still continues. In January 2014, Haruko Obokata in
the Center for Developmental Biology at RIKEN in Kobe, Japan reported that she
was able to convert mouse cells to a pluripotent state in a very simplistic
fashion by exposing cells to stress. This procedure was called stimulus
triggered acquisition of pluripotency (STAP). Soon after its publication,
allegations of plagiarism, and figure manipulation and duplication were
reported. Other researchers were unable to reproduce the STAP experiments and
it seemed that the STAP cells were the result of contamination (Cyranoski,
2015). An investigative committee at RIKEN found Obokata had committed research
misconduct while she defends her results admitting to sloppy science but not
deliberate misconduct.

Shortly
after the scandal was reported, Waseda University, where Obokata received her
doctorate, revoked her PhD on a probationary basis. The concerns over Obokata’s
thesis surrounded plagiarism and inaccuracies (Cook, 2015). The University
however made multiple efforts to help Obokata redo her dissertation by
providing revision instructions and required she take an online ethics training
course which she completed. And while some revisions to the thesis were made,
these were insufficient to satisfy the Graduate School of Advanced Science and
Engineering which decided on October 30 this year to deny a request for an
extension and revoked her doctorate.

Obokata
claimed the decision to be unfair and her lawyer went further to say that this
decision to revoke her PhD was put forward more from social pressure than
academic reasons (Charolidi, 2015).

It seems
ethically appropriate to remove a doctorate degree in cases of research
misconduct, especially when there are questionable experiments or plagiarism in
the thesis.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.

Bioethics Blogs

Announcement: Oxford Uehiro Prize in Practical Ethics

Graduate and undergraduate students currently enrolled at the University of Oxford in any subject are invited to enter the Oxford Uehiro Prize in Practical Ethics by submitting an essay of up to 2000 words on any topic relevant to practical ethics.  Eligibility includes visiting students who are registered as recognized students, and paying fees, but does not include informal visitors.  Two undergraduate papers and two graduate papers will be shortlisted from those submitted to go forward to a public presentation and discussion, where the winner of each category will be selected.

The winner from each category will receive £300, and the runner up £100. All four finalist essays will be considered for publication in the Journal of Practical Ethics.

To enter, please submit your written papers by the end of 25 January 2016 to rocci.wilkinson@philosophy.ox.ac.uk. Finalists will be notified in early to mid February. The public presentation will take place in 7th Week, Hilary term 2016.

Detailed instructions

Stage 1: The Essay

 

The essay of up to 2000 words may cover any topic relevant to practical ethics. The question to be addressed should be stated clearly in bold at the outset. The focus of the marking will be on the quality and originality of your argument. References are therefore allowed but are not required.  The essay can draw upon existing published work but needs to be sufficiently original to be eligible for publication in the Journal of Practical Ethics.

Submissions should be prepared for blind review by our assessors. Please remove any identifying information from your manuscript (both as a pdf and a word document) and provide a title sheet on a separate file with the title of your essay, your name and contact details, including email.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.

Bioethics Blogs

Scientific illiteracy is not the tragedy of our times

Maya J. Goldenberg challenges the role of science in policy debates.

__________________________________________

In a recent television appearance on Australia’s Monday Night Q&A, the eminent scientist and science communicator Neil Degrasse Tyson claimed that scientific illiteracy is “a tragedy of our times”. This remark was aimed at climate change deniers and other graduates of the University of Google who vocally challenge the scientific consensus on pressing science-based policy issues like climate change, vaccines, and genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Their outlandish claims then receive unwarranted consideration and sometimes acceptance by members of the public with poor science education.

Government leaders have been concerned for decades about the limits that public misunderstanding of science places on modern Western societies’ economic competitiveness and growth. Despite political investment in scientific literacy, especially in K-12 education, many politicians are rightly criticized (by Tyson among others) for abusing science to meet political ends. In Canada, for instance, environmental science research has been severely tethered so as to protect the leadership’s oil sands-intensive economic plan.

Public surveying by the National Science Board and the Australian Academy of Science indicate that public scientific competencies leave much to be desired (although Canada is doing fine!). Yet the popular view held by Tyson and many others—that scientific illiteracy is the root of public resistance to scientific claims—is false. That is, science scepticism is not rooted in poor scientific education.

Whether I know that an atom is smaller than a molecule or how long it takes for the earth to go around the sun (to borrow two typical questions from the National Science Board and Australian Academy of Science surveys of scientific literacy) bears little on my ability to evaluate the claims made regarding reviving cod populations in Atlantic Canada or protecting health by vaccinating school-aged children against Human Papilloma Virus (HPV).

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.

Bioethics Blogs

A Special Event Reprise: Exploring the Ethics of Cognitive Enhancement and the University’s Policy at Emory

Last month, Emory’s Committee on Academic Integrity and the Barkley Forum collaborated to host “Study Drugs: Exploring the Ethics of Cognitive Enhancement and the University’s Policy.” The program featured a debate among four Emory University undergraduates and a discussion between Emory Center for Ethics’s very own Dr. Karen Rommelfanger and Dr. John Banja in addition to Willie Bannister, Emory’s Associate Director of Health Promotion. This event, organized by Emory University senior Grant Schleifer, brought out students from many areas of study to weigh in on how the university can better address the potential issue of increasing usage of cognitive enhancement drugs within Emory’s student body.

In an effort to relay the contents of the event to the greater student body, the speeches from the event are displayed below in the order of their presentation. This 20-minute debate included two affirmative speeches advocating that Emory ought to take a stance on the use of cognitive enhancement drugs and set up a regulatory regime to oversee students’ use of cognitive enhancers.  The negative team argued against this approach to the “study drugs” problem by presenting potential negative consequences to greater monitoring of the intake of cognitive enhancers, such as creating a larger black market for drugs like Adderall.

Further, Dr. Jason Ciejka, Emory’s Associate Director of the Honor Council attended this event and provided us with a wonderful commentary on the proceedings. Given his role at the university, his perspective on issues such as cognitive enhancement is incredibly valuable and aids in further understanding the intersection of ethics and policy at the university level.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.

Bioethics Blogs

Oxford Uehiro Prize in Practical Ethics

Announcement: Oxford Uehiro Prize in Practical Ethics, open to all students at Oxford University

Graduate and undergraduate students currently enrolled at the University of Oxford in any subject are invited to enter the Oxford Uehiro Prize in Practical Ethics by submitting an essay of up to 2000 words on any topic relevant to practical ethics. Two undergraduate papers and two graduate papers will be shortlisted from those submitted to go forward to a public presentation and discussion, where the winner of each category will be selected.

The winner from each category will receive £300, and the runner up £100. All four finalist essays will be considered for publication in the Journal of Practical Ethics.

To enter, please submit your written papers by the end of 25 January 2015 to rocci.wilkinson@philosophy.ox.ac.uk. Finalists will be notified in early February. The public presentation will take place in February 2015.

Detailed instructions

Stage 1: The Essay

The essay of up to 2000 words may cover any topic relevant to practical ethics. The question to be addressed should be stated clearly in bold at the outset. The focus of the marking will be on the quality and originality of your argument. References are therefore allowed but are not required.

Submissions should be prepared for blind review by our assessors. Please remove any identifying information from your manuscript (both as a pdf and a word document) and provide a title sheet on a separate file with the title of your essay, your name and contact details, including email. Please include a word count.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.