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Responsible Conduct of Research$

Adil E Shamoo and David B Resnik

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195368246

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195368246.001.0001

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Mentoring and Collaboration

Mentoring and Collaboration

(p.68) 4 Mentoring and Collaboration
Responsible Conduct of Research

Adil E. Shamoo

David B. Resnik (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Abstract and Keywords

Mentoring and collaboration are cornerstones of modern science, but they also raise some ethical problems and dilemmas. This chapter explores a variety of issues related to mentoring and collaboration. It discusses some of the moral dimensions of mentoring and collaboration, such as proper training, setting examples, trust, accountability, and collegiality. It also considers some reasons why collaborations sometimes fail in research and addresses policies designed to promote collaboration and effective mentoring. The chapter also discusses leadership in mentoring, collaboration, and other professional relationships in science.

Keywords:   mentoring, collaboration, ethical dilemmas, proper training, trust, accountability, collegiality, leadership, professional relationships

Mentoring and collaboration are cornerstones of modern science, but they also raise some ethical problems and dilemmas. This chapter explores a variety of issues related to mentoring and collaboration, including such moral dimensions as proper training, setting examples, trust, accountability, and collegiality. The chapter also considers some reasons that collaborations sometimes fail in research, addresses policies designed to promote collaboration and effective mentoring, and discusses leadership in mentoring, collaboration, and other professional relationships in science.

The institution of mentoring traces its history back to ancient Greece. The word “mentor” comes from the name of a man who was the adviser to King Odysseus and teacher to Telemachus in Homer's Odyssey. Mentor provided education and moral guidance to his students. Following this model, a mentor was an older male teacher who had a close relationship with an adolescent young man. Socrates, the father of philosophy, mentored Plato and many other students in Athens. Plato created his own school and mentored many students, including Aristotle, who made important contributions to philosophy, logic, politics, literary theory, and science. Today, mentoring is a very important component of the research enterprise. In academic institutions, mentors not only transmit knowledge and skills to students but also teach attitudes, traditions, values, and other things that cannot be learned in formal courses. Mentoring plays a major role in shaping individuals.

Collaboration was also important in ancient science, but it is even more so today. Although many people still retain the image of the isolated researcher toiling away in the laboratory, modern science is a highly social activity. Archimedes, Galileo, Newton, Harvey, and Mendel managed to do a great deal of work without collaborating significantly, but today's scientists often must work with many different colleagues. Researchers share data, databases, ideas, equipment, computers, methods, reagents, cell lines, research sites, personnel, and many other technical and human resources. Researchers collaborate and have professional relationships with people from different departments, institutions, disciplines, and nationalities. Collaborators may include graduate students, postdoctoral students, junior and senior researchers, basic scientists, and clinical researchers. Some research projects, such as the Human Genome Project, involve thousands of researchers from dozens of disciplines working in many different countries (Grinnell 1992, Macrina 2005). The National Science Foundation established six science and technology centers across the United States with up to $20 million for five years (Mervis 2002). The centers were controversial at first because 143 entrants (p.69) were narrowed down to six. However, all agree that they have been very successful ventures for collaborative research. The National Institutes of Health has also established centers of excellence to promote collaboration in research.

Successful professional relationships and collaborations in science cannot occur without a high level of cooperation, trust, collegiality, fairness, competence, and accountability. It is important to have competence at all levels of science to facilitate research and engender public confidence (McCallin 2006). Cooperation is essential to collaboration, because collaborators must share data and resources and coordinate activities, experiments, and tests. Trust is important in collaboration because researchers need to trust that their collaborators will keep the agreements, perform according to expectations, will not lie, and so on (Whitbeck 1998). Many different factors can undermine trust, including selfishness, incompetence, negligence, unfairness, careerism, and conflicts of interest.

Collegiality, one of sociologist Robert Merton's (1973) four norms of science, is important in maintaining a social environment that promotes cooperation and trust: Researchers who treat one another as colleagues are more likely to trust one another and to cooperate. The norm of collegiality requires researchers to treat each other with the respect accorded to a friend or ally in pursuit of a common goal. Colleagues not only help one another but also provide constructive criticism. Behaviors that can undermine collegiality include harassment (sexual or otherwise); racial, ethnic, or sexual discrimination; verbal abuse; personal grudges; theft; and jealousy.

Fairness is important in collaboration because collaborators want to ensure that they receive a fair share of the rewards of research, such as authorship or intellectual property rights, and that they are not unfairly burdened with some of the more tedious or unpleasant aspects of research (Resnik 1998a,c). Although research is a cooperative activity, researchers still retain their individual interests, and they expect that those interests will be treated fairly. Plagiarism and undeserved authorship are extreme violations of fairness. Fairness is also very important in other issues relating to collaboration, such as peer review and personnel decisions.

Last but not least, accountability is important in collaboration because when many people work together, it is especially important to know who can be held accountable for the successes or the failures of a project (Rennie et al. 1997). Modern research involves a division of intellectual labor: Different people do different jobs in research, such as designing experiments, gathering data, analyzing data, and writing papers (Kitcher 1993). Many research projects encompass research techniques, methods, and disciplines so different from each other that no one person can be responsible for or even knowledgeable about all the different aspects of the project. For example, the study of a new DNA vaccine may involve enzyme kinetics, X-ray crystallography, reverse transcriptase, electron micrographs, recombinant DNA, polymerase chain reactions, clinical trials, pharmacology, microbiology, immunology, and statistical analysis.

(p.70) Because so many people are doing different jobs, it is often hard to keep track of all of these different laborers, the standards governing their work, and the products of their labor. Leading a research team can be in some ways like managing a small organization. Like any organization, problems relating to communication and supervision can occur in scientific research. Indeed, many of the problems related to misconduct in science often boil down to poor communication and supervision (Broad and Wade 1982 [1993], LaFollette 1992, National Academy of Sciences 1992).

In any research project, different people need to be held accountable for different parts of the project as well as the whole project itself. Accountability is often confused with responsibility, but we distinguish between these two concepts (Davis 1995b). People are accountable for an action if they have the obligation to give an account of the action. People are responsible for an action if they deserve to be praised or blamed for the action. People may be held accountable even if they are not responsible. For example, if a 14-year-old boy throws a rock through a window, he is responsible for throwing the rock, but his parents may be held accountable for his actions. In a large research project with many collaborators, different people may be held accountable for the project as a whole or its various parts. A person who was not responsible for some aspect of the project, such as recording data, may still be held accountable for the project as a whole. Clearly, accountability and responsibility are both important in research, but it is also important to keep these notions distinct.


To help prevent ethical problems from arising during collaboration, we recommend that collaborators discuss important research issues before and during their collaborative work:

  1. 1. Extent of the collaboration: How much of a commitment of time, effort, and money is involved in the collaboration?

  2. 2. Roles and responsibilities: What is the role of each collaborator? Who is responsible for different parts of the collaboration?

  3. 3. Funding: How will the project be funded? Who will apply for funding?

  4. 4. Conflicts of interest: Are there any financial or other interests affecting the research that collaborators should know about?

  5. 5. Resource sharing: How will data and other resources be managed and shared? Will data be kept confidential? For how long? Will data be placed on a publicly available database?

  6. 6. Dissemination of results: How and where will the research be published or disseminated? Is there a plan for discussing research results with the media or the public?

  7. 7. Deadlines: Are there any institutional, funding, or other deadlines relevant to the project?

  8. (p.71)
  9. 8. Regulations: What regulations pertain to the project?

  10. 9. Authorship and publication: Who will be an author? Who will receive acknowledgment? When will publication take place? Where will results be published? Who will write the paper? Who will be the corresponding author?

  11. 10. Ownership of data: Who will own the data? What type of ownership will they have? What portion of the data will they own?

  12. 11. Intellectual property rights: Who will have intellectual property rights (patents, copyrights)? Will a patent be applied for? Who will apply for the patent?

  13. 12. Data access: Who will have access to the data? Under what terms?

  14. 13. Closure: What will bring the collaboration to a formal end?

Collaborative research raises a number of different ethical issues that we cover in other chapters in this book, such as authorship, intellectual property, and interactions between academic institutions and private industry. In this chapter, we focus on only two issues related to collaboration: mentoring and leadership.


Mentoring is a very important part of scientific education and training and is the social foundation of research. Although mentors provide students with knowledge and information as well as wisdom and advice, mentors are role models, so they also teach their students by example. Most people have different mentors at different times for different reasons. A mentor could be a family member, a pastor, a coach, a friend, a teacher, a business leader, a policeman, or anyone a student knows and admires. In science, a mentor is usually a senior researcher who supervises a number of different graduate students. Usually students' graduate advisers or thesis advisers are also their mentors, but many research students obtain mentoring from senior researchers who have no formal advising responsibilities (Weil and Arzbaecher 1997). Many students consider more than one person to be their mentor, but unfortunately, some students have no one whom they would consider a mentor. Students who benefit from mentoring include graduate and undergraduate students, postdoctoral students, and even junior-level professors (National Academy of Sciences 1992, 1997, National Institutes of Health 2000).

Mentors interact with their students in many ways. Some of the most important activities include the following:

  • Teaching students how to do research: Mentors help students learn the techniques, methods, and traditions of research. They show students how to design experiments, conduct experiments, collect and record data, analyze data, and write up results.

  • Critiquing and supporting students' research and teaching: Mentors read students' lab notebooks, research protocols, and manuscripts (Macrina 2005) and scrutinize students' research design and data analysis. They (p.72) may attend classes that the students teach, read students' evaluations of teaching, or provide feedback on teaching style and technique. Although it is very important for mentors to criticize students, they also need to offer support and encouragement, and they need to carefully tread the line between constructive and destructive criticism. Mentors need to guard against discrimination, favoritism, and excessively high (or low) expectations when critiquing students.

  • Promoting their students' careers: Mentors help students to enter the job market. They help students find jobs and submit job applications, they write letters of recommendation, and they help students prepare for job interviews (Macrina 2005).

  • Helping students understand the legal, social, and financial aspects of research: Mentors teach their students about research rules and regulations, such as animal care and use regulations, human experimentation regulations, and biological and radiation safety regulations. They also help students understand the social structure of the research environment, including relationships with colleagues, students, administrators, funding agencies, and the public. They help students understand the funding of research and help them write grant applications and obtain scholarships and fellowships.

  • Teaching students about research ethics: Mentors play an important role in teaching students about the ethical aspects of research (National Academy of Sciences 1992, Weil and Arzbaecher 1997, Swazey and Bird 1997, Macrina 2005). Such teaching may involve didactic lectures, workshops, and seminars as well as informal discussions. Most important, mentors need to provide students with a good example of how to behave ethically in research, because students learn a great deal of ethics by example.

  • Involvement in students' personal lives: Although mentors should maintain professional distance from their students, they should not ignore their students' personal lives. For example, if mentors are aware of their students' psychological, medical, or legal problems, mentors should help their students find the proper resources or help. Mentors can listen to their students' problems and support them in difficult circumstances. Even though it is important for mentors to be aware of their students' personal life, judgment and discretion should be used so that the relationships remain professional and do not become too personal. Mentors should avoid becoming too involved in their students' personal lives so that they can maintain a measure of objectivity and fairness.

The list above shows that mentors perform many important duties for their students. Mentors are more than mere teachers: They are also advisers, counselors, and often friends. Because students usually also work for mentors as teaching and research assistants, mentors also serve as employers and supervisors. These different roles may sometimes conflict. For instance, mentors (p.73) may give students so much work to do that they do not have adequate time for their own research. In these cases, a mentor's role of employer/supervisor conflicts with the role of teacher. Or a mentor may believe that it is in the student's best interests to transfer to a different university to work with someone who has more expertise in that student's chosen area of research, but yet may hesitate to convey this advice to the student if the mentor needs him as a research or teaching assistant.

Steiner et al. (2004) surveyed 139 primary care fellows of the National Research Service Award from 1988 through 1997 regarding their subsequent career development and research productivity. The fellows indicated whether during the fellowship they had no sustained and influential mentorship, influential but not sustained mentorship, or influential and sustained mentorship. Steiner et al. found that those with sustained and influential mentorship were more engaged in research, were publishing more often, were more likely to be a principal investigator on a grant, and were more likely to provide good mentorship to others.

To understand the ethical dimensions of the mentor–student relationship, it is important to realize that mentors have more power, experience, knowledge, and expertise than their students (Weil and Arzbaecher 1997, Macrina 2005). Students also depend on their mentors for education, training, advice, and often employment. Mentors may also depend on students for assistance in teaching or research, but students are far more dependent on mentors than vice versa. Given their minimal power, experience, knowledge, and expertise and the high degree of dependency, students are highly vulnerable. It is very easy for mentors to manipulate, control, or exploit their students, because students often may be unable to prevent or avoid such abuses of power. Thus, the mentor–student relationship resembles other professional relationships where one party is highly vulnerable, such as the doctor–patient relationship and the lawyer–client relationship. These relationships are sometimes called fiduciary relationships because the powerful party is entrusted with protecting the interests of the vulnerable party. The powerful party has a variety of duties toward the vulnerable party, including beneficence, nonmaleficence, confidentiality, respect, and justice (Bayles 1988).

Although it should be fairly obvious that mentors have a variety of ethical duties to their students, ethical problems and dilemmas can still arise in this relationship. Unfortunately, various forms of exploitation are fairly common in mentoring. Mentors sometimes do not protect their students from harm or treat them fairly. For instance, mentors often do not give students proper credit for their work. They may fail to give students acknowledgments in papers or include them as coauthors (Banoub-Baddour and Gien 1991). They may fail to list students as first authors when students make the most important contribution to the research. In some of the more egregious cases, mentors have stolen ideas from their students without giving them any credit at all (Marshall 1999d, 2000b, Dreyfuss 2000). One well-known case of this type of exploitation involved the famous scientist Robert Millikan and his student Harvey Fletcher. Millikan was conducting experiments to (p.74) measure the minimum electrostatic charge, the charge of an electron. In his experiments, he dropped water droplets through charged plates. By comparing the rate of fall of the droplets without charged plates with their rate of fall through the plates, Millikan would be able to determine the electrostatic force on the droplets and therefore the minimum charges. His experiment was not working well, and Fletcher suggested that Millikan use oil droplets instead of water droplets. Millikan took this advice and ended up winning the Nobel Prize in 1923 for the discovery of the charge of an electron. However, Millikan did not acknowledge Fletcher's contribution in his paper describing these experiments (Holton 1978).

Mentors may also overwork their students by assigning them too many experiments to run, too many papers to grade, too many undergraduate students to tutor, and so on. If students are assigned too much work, they will not have enough time for their own education and research. In recent years, graduate students have formed unions to deal with poor working conditions. Postdoctoral students often face especially demanding and exploitative working conditions. They are usually nontenured researchers who are paid through “soft money,” that is, money from research grants. Postdoctoral students are paid much less than regular faculty members even though they have doctoral degrees and often do just as much research or teaching. They also do not receive the usual benefits package (e.g., health insurance), and they have little job security (Barinaga 2000). Although some postdoctoral students enjoy their work, others feel mistreated or exploited. Given their vulnerability, it is very hard for these students to complain about working conditions or about their mentors, because they face the real threat of retaliation. For example, a mentor could refuse to work with the student any longer, recommend that the student be expelled from the program, or encourage his colleagues not to work with the student.

Other examples of ways in which mentors may abuse their students include the following:

  • Giving students misinformation or poor advice

  • Intimidating or harassing students

  • Discriminating against students

  • Showing favoritism to one of more students

  • Failing to help students advance their careers

  • Not recognizing when students are having psychological troubles that require counseling

Given the importance of the mentor–student relationship for scientific research, and the kinds of problems that routinely arise, many universities and professional organizations have developed programs and policies aimed at improving mentoring (National Academy of Sciences 1997, National Institutes of Health 2000). Some of these policies include the following:
  1. 1. Rewarding mentors for effective mentoring: Most universities do not emphasize or even consider mentoring skills when they review (p.75) faculty for hiring and promotion, but this needs to change if we want to improve mentoring (Djerassi 1999).

  2. 2. Providing mentors with enough time for mentoring: Professors who do not have adequate time for mentoring will do a poor job of mentoring. Professors who have heavy mentoring responsibilities should be released from other administrative or teaching obligations.

  3. 3. Developing clear rules concerning workloads, teaching duties, research opportunities, authorship, time commitments, and intellectual property: Many of the problems that occur in mentoring are due to poor communication. Communication can be improved by clearly defining expectations and obligations (Macrina 2005).

  4. 4. Establishing procedures and channels for evaluating mentoring and for allowing students and mentors to voice their grievances.

  5. 5. Ensuring that students who “blow the whistle” on mentors are protected: A whistle-blower is someone who reports unethical or illegal conduct. Whistle-blowers often face retaliation. To avoid this, whistle-blowers must be protected. We discuss this recommendation again in chapter 8 on scientific misconduct.

  6. 6. Promoting a psychologically safe work environment: Students and mentors both need to have an environment that is free from sexual, religious, ethnic, and other forms of harassment (National Academy of Sciences 1992). Sexual harassment is unethical and can also be illegal. Although most researchers agree on the need to protect students and others from sexual harassment, there are disputes about the definition of sexual harassment as well as the proper response to sexual harassment (Swisher 1995). For further discussion, see Resnik (1998a).

  7. 7. Promoting a nondiscriminatory work environment: Racial, ethnic, sexual, religious, and other types of discrimination are also unethical and often illegal. Women have for many years labored under the yoke of sex discrimination in science. Although women have made significant gains in some sciences, such as anthropology, biology, and medicine, women are still vastly underrepresented in engineering and physical science. Racial and ethnic discrimination continue to be a problem in science as more minorities enter the workplace (Johnson 1993, Manning 1998). Although African Americans have historically been the most frequent victims of discrimination, Asian Americans also experience discrimination (Lawler 2000). Scientists should be judged by the quality of their research, education, and character, not by the color of their skin, their national origin, their religious views, or their gender. Effective mentoring cannot take place when discrimination affects the laboratory (for further discussion, see Resnik 1998a).

  8. 8. Promoting a diverse workforce in research: Because mentors serve as role models as well as advisers and friends, one could argue that it is important to promote diversity in science in order to enhance (p.76) mentoring and education. Science students have different gender, racial, ethnic, and religious characteristics. The scientific workforce should reflect this diversity so that students can benefit from having role models with whom they can identify (Mervis 1999, Holden 2000). An excellent way to promote the effective mentoring of women in science is to hire and promote more women scientists (Etzkowitz et al. 1994), which will also encourage more women to enter science. This same “diversity” argument also applies to racial and ethnic diversity, which raises the question of affirmative action in science: Should hiring and promotion of scientists be decided based on racial or ethnic features of a person? This is a complex legal, moral, and political question that we do not explore in depth here. We favor a weak form of affirmative action that increases the diversity of the workforce without compromising quality. Racial, ethnic, and gender considerations should be treated as one factor among many that can be used to enhance diversity. Other factors might include geography, socioeconomic status, and life experiences. Affirmative action should not be used to promote incompetence or tokenism (Resnik 2005).


Leadership is an important aspect of mentoring, collaboration, laboratory management, and research administration. The leading psychologist/leadership scholar Fred Fiedler (1967) studied the effectiveness of leaders who are task motivators as compared with relationship-based motivators. The task motivator emphasizes to his subordinates the importance of the task at hand to the organization. The relationship-based motivator emphasizes the importance of building personal relationship with his subordinates in order to achieve the task. Fiedler found that the task motivator was more effective in four out of eight leadership characteristics and that the relationship-based motivator was more effective in the other four leadership characteristics. The contingency model of leadership was born from combining the several types of leadership as thus described by Fiedler (1967). Vroom and Jago (2007, p. 18) define leadership as “a process of motivating people to work together collaboratively to accomplish great things.” These two authors dismiss the need for the moral component in the definition of leadership. Wong (2006) found that the most common characteristics of scientists who became leaders of research in key industries are determination, drive and diligence, passion, broad experience, flexibility, and inspiration. Other characteristics of leadership include vision, initiative, realism, and ethics (Koestenbaum 1991, Gardner 1995).

We think that ethics is one of the most important characteristic of leadership. Many leaders who lacked ethics, such as Hitler, Genghis Khan, Stalin, and Pol Pot, have wreaked havoc on our civilization. Virtuous or ethical leaders, such as Gandhi, Roosevelt, Martin Luther King, and Mother Teresa, (p.77) have brought much good to society. Ethical leadership does not imply perfection—even ethical leaders make mistakes. But ethical leaders respond to mistakes by admitting them, learning from them, and taking steps to amend them, not by denying them or covering them up. Placing more emphasis on ethics in scientific leadership will be good for science and society. We therefore adapt Vroom and Jago's (2007) definition of leadership for our own:

Leadership is a process of motivating people ethically to work together collaboratively to accomplish a given task.

Most research endeavors are accomplished through the exercise of leadership by a researcher/manager/boss/leader. If ethical conduct is important in research, then all of the stakeholders in the research, including individual scientists as well as various organizations, have an obligation to promote ethical conduct and ethical decision making (Swazey and Bird 1997, Resnik 1998c, National Academy of Sciences 1992). Although it is important to promulgate and enforce standards of conduct in research, promoting ethical conduct requires much more than investigating and adjudicating claims of misconduct. Ethics is not police work. By far the most effective way to promote ethical conduct in research is to teach students at all levels about ethics and integrity in research (Bird 1993, Swazey 1993, Swazey and Bird 1997). Education in research ethics can help students develop moral sensitivity (an awareness of ethical issues and concerns), moral reasoning (the ability to make moral decisions), and moral commitment (the willingness do to the right thing even at some personal cost) (Pimple 1995). Although courses, seminars, workshops, and lectures on research ethics can be an effective way of teaching ethics in research, empirical research suggests that role modeling and leadership play a very important role in learning ethical conduct. That is, all of us, including scientists and other professionals, learn professional norms and virtues, in part, by example (Kuhn 1970; see also Aristotle ca. 330 B.C. [1984], Kopelman 1999).

Scientists who model ethical behavior for their students and colleagues exhibit moral or ethical leadership. Ethical leadership promotes ethical conduct by setting an example and a general tone or attitude in an organization. Organizational leaders can promote an ethical corporate culture or unethical corporate culture, depending on their demeanor. If members of an organization (e.g., students, researchers, employees) can see that ethics is important to the leaders of the organization and that the leaders take ethical issues seriously, then members will also value ethical conduct and take ethics seriously (Fraedrich 1991). However, if leaders do not emphasize ethics, or if they engage in unethical practices, such as dishonesty, deception, negligence, and law breaking, then members of their organization will follow their example.

Today, many large corporations have adopted ethics statements that emphasize the importance of ethical leadership (Murphy 1998). Although all researchers should teach ethics by example, it is especially important for researchers who have important leadership or management positions, (p.78) in academia and private industry, to lead by example and affirm their commitment to ethics in research. Individuals as well as institutions have a responsibility to promote ethics by developing policies and procedures and promoting effective leadership (Berger and Gert 1997). Thus, department chairs, laboratory and center directors, section heads, vice presidents, deans, and presidents should all lead by example. By doing so, they can affect the behavior of students, colleagues, and employees and promote an ethical culture. Good leaders inspire learning, creativity, and a sense of duty to society and our civilization. We discuss many of these policies in various chapters of our book.


  1. 1. How would you describe the current state of collaboration in research?

  2. 2. Why is collaboration important for research?

  3. 3. Can you think of any examples, from your own experience or from the experiences of colleagues, where good collaboration was lacking?

  4. 4. How would you react if someone you do not know wants a sample of research material or data?

  5. 5. Can you describe how you are being mentored? Are there modifications you could suggest?

  6. 6. What are the qualities (or virtues) of a good mentor?

  7. 7. What are the qualities of a good leader?


Case 1

A postdoctoral fellow got into a severe conflict with her mentor. Her mentor provided her salary from his grant resources, and she was working on one of his primary projects. She found another job and took all three laboratory notebooks with her when she left. The mentor was very angry when he found out. He asked her to return the lab notebooks immediately or she would be accused of theft. He claimed the lab notebooks belonged to him and to the university, but he invited her to copy the books for her use. She returned the notebooks after making copies.

Two years later, the mentor learned that she had published a paper without mentioning his name anywhere, but that his grant was acknowledged. What should the mentor do?

Case 2

A graduate student worked for a year with an adviser on replicating a new small protein. He spent part of the year developing the methodology before conducting the replications. However, the graduate student did not like his (p.79) adviser and moved to a different adviser within the same department, who happened to be the director of the graduate program in that department. The student's new research program was in a different area from the previous work.

A year later, the student learned that a subsequent student of his former mentor had used his method for replicating the protein in subsequent research, and that they were writing a paper without listing him as a coauthor. He protested but was told that the new graduate student had to do the whole thing all over again and that they were not using his data. The student argued that the new technique used to collect the data was a novel technique developed by him and not available in the open literature. The student's former adviser, after meeting with everyone including the director, reluctantly agreed to publish at a later date a small technical paper on the technique naming the student as coauthor. The first paper will still appear, much sooner, and without his name. The student agreed, under protest, but he knew his life would be difficult if he insisted on a different outcome.

  • What would you have done under these circumstances?

  • Should the first adviser have done what he did?

  • What should the new student have done, and what should he do now? The director?

Case 3

Dr. Barnes has been telling dirty jokes in his anatomy and physiology class for as long as anyone can remember. He is a very friendly, outgoing teacher, gets excellent evaluations on his teaching, and has won several teaching awards. Dr. Barnes has three teaching assistants who help with various aspects of the course.

During one of the labs for the course, one of his teaching assistants, Heather, overhears two female students complaining about his jokes. They find his jokes both rude and offensive. Heather talks to the two students. She says that she also found his jokes rude and offensive at first, but that she got used to them and they don't bother her anymore. They say that they do not want to get used to his jokes and that they are planning to talk to the dean of students. What should Heather do?

Case 4

Dr. Trotter is a molecular geneticist who applies Darwin's principle “survival of the fittest” to his laboratory environment. Each year, he hires two new postdoctoral students for one year. He assigns them both to work on the same experiment. Whoever finishes the work first, with reproducible results, will get to be an author on a paper; the loser will not. He runs several such contests during the year. At the end of the year, the postdoctoral student who has the best results will be hired for a three-year position, and the loser will be terminated. What do you think about this Dr. Trotter's policy? Is it ethical?

(p.80) Case 5

Dr. Stabler is the dean of a prestigious medical school. In response to a scandal involving misconduct in a privately funded clinical trial conducted on campus, the medical school has decided to revamp its conflict of interest policies. A faculty committee has proposed that faculty are not allowed to own more than $5,000 in stock in any particular pharmaceutical or biotechnology company or receive more than $5,000 in consulting fees or honoraria from any particular pharmaceutical or biotechnology company in a calendar year. Faculty must disclose their financial relationships with companies each year. The committee also recommended tougher standards for administrators: Deans and department heads should own no stock and receive no consulting fees or honoraria from pharmaceutical or biotechnology companies. When this proposed policy was discussed at a faculty meeting, Dr. Stabler strongly opposed tougher standards for administrators, and it did not pass. The faculty adopted a policy that treats all faculty equally with respect to conflicts of interest. Do you think Dr. Stabler exhibited ethical leadership?