The decision by Dr. George to omit trial results of two participants without providing sufficient reason or tabling evidence for the exclusion qualified this as an example of research misconduct. According to the investigations by Henry, the mentor must have omitted the test results of two of the participants because their response to the drugs provided was unexpected and maybe detrimental to the conclusions developed regarding the ability of the drug to ensure a reduction in cholesterol levels. It is the responsibility of researchers in clinical trials to operate with high level of integrity and transparency. This is because they are involved in testing the ability of drugs to enhance the health status of target patients, failure to disclose information may result in the development of detrimental side effects on the future users of the drug. Failure by the researcher to provide all the results from the patients who participated in the study can be considered as an act of data manipulation with the objective of realizing some preconceived results. This behavior was s substantial departure from acceptable practice among clinical researchers. The objective of realizing some intended results led the mentor into committing the crime knowingly. Furthermore, the questions asked by henry coupled by his investigations and the resulting doubt was sufficient proof necessitating an investigation into data manipulation by the researcher.
The act of omitting certain elements of data to support a specific conclusion is an act of suppression of data. This is an instance of research misconduct because the researcher had an ill objective of tailoring the results of his research to conform to his expectations. This approach to data manipulation not only affects the integrity of the researcher but also that of the institution in terms of its ability to engage in the production of credible, valid, and reliable data. The responsbility of proper data management and data preservation is considered vital in maintaining the integrity of research. Data manipulation through suppression affects this responsbility because it introduces discrepancies in that research hence affecting its validity and applicability in addressing issues in the society.
The responsbility of reporting this misconduct lies on Henry. This is because he was charged with the duty of recruiting participants who met the expected criteria. If Henry was acting in accordance with the expectations of his mentor, then the participants recruited were not only relevant but also medically fit to accommodate different aspects related to the trial. According to the report that was to be published by a journal, the results from two of the participants were omitted. The intentional omission of these results without any form of consolation or information was an indication of malpractice. The mentor had the responsbility of informing henry of this decision while providing sufficient explanations for the course of action taken.
As a student in medicine, Henry has a responsbility towards the medical field. His responsbility is to uphold the integrity of medical practitioners by embracing honesty and transparency in all his actions. The decision to omit the results from two participants because they did not respond to the drugs as expected can be considered as an attempt to manipulate data with the objective of realizing the aims of the pharmaceutical company and those of the doctor. This action commercializes the medical field and if Henry fails to report this malpractice, the subsequent introduction of the drug into the market may result in underlying consequences that were initially neglected during the clinical trial.
This incident of data manipulation might go unreported because henry considers the doctor as his mentor and therefore reporting an act of malpractice may affect his reputation in the medical filed. Furthermore, henry does not have sufficient evidence to substantiate his claim that the two results were omitted because the patients did not respond to the medication according to the expectations of the doctor and the pharmaceutical company. Despite the possibility that the incident may go unreported, Henry has an ethical obligation towards the institution. This is based on the realization that failing to report such an act of misconduct can be considered as misconduct in itself. Moreover, his involvement in the research process may lead to accusation of protecting self-interest
The responsbility of proving and punishing misconduct lies with the institution. Henry should report to the institution through the faculty of medicine. This process of reporting will require Henry to provide efficient and substantial reason why he believes that the actions of data manipulation were an act of malpractice. The institution, through its ethics department will commission an investigation into the incident where it will engage the researcher with the objective of proving the allegations provided by Henry. When reporting to the Institution, Henry will be regard as whistle blower whose identity must remain anonymous to protect his integrity, reputation and minimize the possibility of victimization from the doctor or other players in the medical field.
The process of reporting this act of research misconduct begins by drafting a letter and attaching any available supporting evidence. In the case of henry this will involve submitting alter and evidence of the list he recruited and the final list in which two of the recruits were excluded without substantial reasons. Henry will also be expected to provide reasons for reporting. This will help the institution in assessing whether Henry was presenting these allegations in good faith. According to the policies and procedures on public interest disclosure, the university has the obligation of protecting henry’s identity unless the disclosure is deemed necessary in the process of investigating the allegations. Prior to an investigation, the university through its management will request for a preliminary assessment into the allegations to determine whether the concerns presented contain sufficient evidence that could warrant a formal investigation. Through the assessment, the university will be able to collect data on factors that may have necessitated the reporting of allegations and determine their validity. Upon assessing the validity of the allegations, the university will conduct a full and expeditious investigation considering that it also has a responsbility of protecting researchers such as Dr. George from frivolous allegations. In the process of conducting the investigation, the university will expect Dr. George and henry to cooperate by attending any investigation meetings whenever their presence is needed.
If the inquiry by the institution finds that it was true that the mentor dropped the results from the participants because they did not respond to the drug, then the entire clinical trial process should be nullified and the mentor barred or excluded from engaging in future clinical trial research. However, prior to the nullification of the research findings, the committee in charge of the inquiry will be required to provide the mentor with an opportunity of explaining reasons for his actions and related his actions to his responsbility as a doctor while giving reasons why he should not be subjected to any form of administrative or professional sanction. The institution realizes that it has a responsbility of maintaining its integrity, that of the researchers and community of research. This explains why it will be important to penalize the researcher as a demonstration that research misconduct was intolerable to the organization
Furthermore, the researcher will also be subjected to a time defined exclusion from receiving any sponsorship from pharmaceutical companies. The objective of these administrative sanctions against such research is to act as some form of deterrence for existing and future medical practitioners from engaging in data manipulation related misconduct. In addition, through such sanctions it will also be possible for the faculty of medicine in the institution to uphold its position as a reputable institution in conducting objective research activities.
At the institutional level, if the committee in charge of the investigation realizes that an act of misconduct occurred, then other than the sanctions issued against the researcher, the committee will refer the matter to the governing council of the institution, which will be charged with the responsbility of considering whether it would be appropriate to inform the sponsor. Furthermore, if the researcher is subject to regulation by a professional body then the severity of the allegations will determine whether it would be appropriate to furnish the body with the findings of the investigating committee. The process of notifying these parties will be sent upon conclusion of investigation unless if required by the rules of the professional bodies.
The objective of research initiative is to provide information that is considered vital in understanding a phenomenon. This means that it is important for the researchers to engage in a process that will ensure the production of valid and reliable data. When dealing with sponsors who finance research activities to assess the effectiveness of a products any form of misconduct may affect the validity and reliability of a research institution in terms of its ability to uphold objectivity and integrity throughout the research process. The terms of funding future research, the approval and marketing of the drug for lowering cholesterol levels is highly dependent on the outcomes of the inquiry into data manipulation. If the findings of the inquiry indicate the existence of malpractice, then there is a high probability that the institution will be excluded from future funding in the form of sponsorship for research activities. The pharmaceutical company can however reverse this decision if the institution can prove that the doctor’s case was only a rare incident that is uncommon among its medical practitioners and researchers.
Positive results on the existence of a malpractice in the form of data manipulation will affect the approval and marketing of the drug because the results from the clinical research will be considered ineffective in providing an objective understanding of possible reactions to the drug among users. Furthermore, the pharmaceutical company may face challenges selling this drug to its customers because of the existing doubt concerning the safety of the drug on its users. This may contribute to increased customer churn towards alternative but highly valuable products supported by reputable research findings. This doubt will be based on the desire to know and understand the reasons for the exclusion of the results form the two patients. Government agencies may find it relatively difficult to approve the drug for public consumption unless another research trial is commissioned and conducted by a reputable organization. This will be done to ascertain its safety and ability to reduce cholesterol levels without any damaging side effects to the users.
Case 2 Data ownership
University owns the research data and Hayward is just a custodian of the data. His role as the principal investigator emanates from the understanding that he received funding in the form of grants from the university and Banks was playing the role of his research assistant. Inasmuch as Banks took the initiative of conducting the research and compiling a report, the control of the data remained with Hayward because he was the one who received the funds. Hayward is an employee at the university, which means that he is working for hire for the institution, which in most cases s considered as the owner of the rights to the data. The research is federally sponsored, which means that the university is the owner of the data but allows Hayward, as the principal investigator of the sponsorship to be the data stewards. As the principal investigator, Hayward is responsible for collecting, recording, storing, retention, and disposal of data. Upon publication, the principal investigator will retain the copyright and then transfer this right to the publisher.
The problem of accessing research manuals and notebooks can be avoided by setting the guidelines for ownership of data. This is especially if funding is coming from an external source. Those involved in any research initiative must be sensitized on their responsibilities and obligations towards the research. Such sensitization and development of agreements will provide an outline of the rights of those participating in the research regarding data ownership and access. These will include budgetary allocations, regulatory compliance, data management, and contractual obligations. The provsionof details about the research prior to its commencement will provide parties involved in the research with information on the entities that can claim ownership over data collected especially if funds are given from an external source. In addition, also provide guidelines to the researcher about how or when they can access or copy data generated from a research initiative.
Ethics of data collection and data ownership in any research initiative require disclosure of information regarding access and ownership of data. This disclosure must be done before beginning the research because the researchers and other parties involved in the process will have an understanding of the expectations of the research and their responsbility towards realizing these expectations. In the case of Hayward and Banks, the latter thought that she owned the data. She thought that she could access it anytime or use it for any reasons because she was involved in the collection of data and the preparation of the subsequent report. The existence of this notion can be blamed on Hayward who failed to provide relevant and timely information concerning details of the research. The attempt to copy the data was considered an act of plagiarism because Banks, despite being the researcher, did not consult Hayward on her intentions because she was unaware of the underlying conditions of data ownership. For the minimization of such occurrences, it is important for parties involved in a research process to understand the role of each party with regard to data ownership. This will include an understanding of the source of finance and the rights of the financing body especially on matters of data ownership. Through early discussion, it will become possible for the parties to negotiate and agree on various issues related to data ownership hence preventing the possibility of unnecessary disagreements throughout the research process especially on the procedures that must be fulfilled to access research notebooks and manuals
Copying of data should be allowed in situations where the party intending to copy will use it towards the realization of a research objective. However, the copying process should be conducted with the permission from the entity or person that owns the data. The process of copying data while acknowledging the owner of the data is an act that minimizes the possibility of plagiarism. This promotes the authenticity and objectivity of research activities in different platforms. Furthermore, acknowledging the owner of the research is also instrumental in enhancing collaborative and cooperative activities among researchers.
From the case study, if Banks had information about who owned the data, how would have sought permission from Hayward to copy the software and data. Through the process of asking permission, it would have been possible for the two parties to be involved in discussions about the possibility of initiating collaborative efforts in research when she starts working in her new position. From the case, it is evident that Banks desires to continue working on her incomplete assignment but needs data from already completed research. Furthermore, she also realizes that it is important to establish and maintain a good relationship with the professor who could provide her with much insight on her research activities and provide recommendations for future employment. Copying data from the works of the professor, despite her participation in the collection and preparation of the report, may not be the best methodology of starting a professional relationship.
It will be important to make necessary and effective arrangement between the students, faculty members and the institution on the process of copying data. This is because it will be considered an act of misconduct if the student copy data without permission from the owner of data. Furthermore, in federally sponsored program, the institution that receives the finances is considered as the data owner, which would make it an act of plagiarism if the students or the parties involved in the research process copy information without acknowledging the university. The agreement developed by the parties involved should focus on maintaining the credibility and authenticity of the research process because this is vital in enhancing the integrity of research institutions especially on matters related to validity of research findings
The principal investigator has control over access to data with the objective of sharing that data with colleagues with the objective of realizing advancements in different fields of investigation. The principal investigator has a broader responsbility in which as a stewards, the principal investigator must ensure that eh use of data must be based on the use of guidelines that indicate the consequences of making any form of changes in data.
As a principal investigator, the data steward has the responsbility of overseeing and managing data assets by providing researchers with high quality data that is accessible in a consistent manner. As a data steward, it will be possible to engage in effective coordination and implementation of data by conducting data usage and security policies. This is often determined through enterprise data governance initiatives. In such situations, the data steward has the responsbility of maintaining agreed-upon data formats and definitions, which is crucial in the identification of data quality issues, which ensures that researchers adhere to the existing and specified research standards.
Other than collecting, interpreting, and reporting on the findings of the data collected, the principal investigator as data steward also plays the role of linking an institution, the owner of data, with a journal publisher. This is because the steward owns copyrights, which can be transferred to the publisher. The objective of this transfer process is to limit the possibility of instances of data manipulation or plagiarism from other players who may have participated in different stages of the research.
The research I am engaged in operates on a policy statements that provide individual researchers and the institutions have the responsibilities and rights with respect to research data. Through this policy, there is a description of the basis of data ownership and the acceptable standards in the collection and retention of data. The policy is also instrumental in providing guidelines with respect to transfer of research data in the event that the researcher is no longer a member of the university.
In terms of data ownership and responsibilities, the university is the owner of the research data, which has the responsbility of meeting the requirements of sponsors, embracing good management practices, and operating in accordance with practical considerations, which necessitate that the institution and researchers collaborate in a form of partnership with the aim of fulfilling these obligations.
The policy also outlines accessibility to research data. The policy provides permission to external collaborators, university community and others such as journal submissions and patent applications. The policy also outlines the responsibilities of the university and principal investigators with the objective of ensuring proper management, and retention of data through the establishment and maintenance of appropriate procedures facilitating the protection of research data.
In terms of the permission for copying or accessing data, the policy indicates that when researchers, other than the principal investigator in the research leaves the university, they have the permission of taking copies of research data for the projects that they have been involved in. this is however subject to relevant confidentiality restrictions. The university however has the right of retaining original data.
The policy also outlines details of research misconduct in relation to ownership of data. One technique through which the policy enhances integrity of data is by requiring every researcher to cite and acknowledge information gathered from other sources. This acknowledgment is considered as a demonstration of high integrity, which is crucial in enhancing the level of reliability and validity of the resulting data. Through this policy, the institution ensures that researchers are engaged in an in-depth understanding of varieties of phenomenon especially on the contributions of other researchers and the existing loopholes that require additional studies.
Case 3: Intellectual Property
The intellectual property assistant was reasonable in his claim that Justin was dispensing too much information before protecting the information. Justin aims at perfecting a modeling technique that would ensure drastic improvement in the quantification of climate change effects. This is an idea that could improve the wellbeing of human beings. To ensure that the information is protected it would be important to patent the information which will provide details on the best techniques that could be used in successfully navigating through knowledge processes. This will increase the likelihood that discoveries and knowledge that will be available to enhance the good of the public without the possibility of diminishing the most essential mandate of disseminating knowledge in the traditional knowledge sharing platforms. The essence of protection the information emanates from the understanding that intellectual property protection provides platforms of guarding ownership and the use of rights for ideas and concepts using mechanism such as copyrights, trademarks, patents, and expertise agreements. The process of patenting the idea as presented by Justin will be to enhance the preservation of monopoly-like rights for the technological innovation.
An effective way of reacting to this situation would require booking an appointment with the intellectual property specialist with the objective of acquiring more information and explanations concerning the role of the institution in ensuring that limited but relevant data is presented when introducing a new idea in the market. Furthermore, by meeting the intellectual property specialist, it will be possible to understand the rules and procedures that have been set by the university on matters related to the protection of new ideas or innovations by students or employees in the institution. Through this understanding, it will be possible for Justin to assess his presentation in terms of the level by which it conforms to the standards and expectations of the university. According to university policies and regulations on intellectual property protection, all students must report inventions or innovations to the university. This means that for the employees this is a legal obligation. Presenting too much information without the knowledge of the university is considered as an act of violation to intellectual property protection laws.
Justin should be concerned that he has provided too much information to the public because he has not engaged intellectual property to determine the techniques through which he would disseminate information with delivering too much information. By presenting unpatented information, Justin failed to engage in the protection and promotion of an emerging technology that could solve the problem of climate change. There is a high possibility that the information as presented will be subjected to further investigations by the parties that were attending the presentation. When these parties realize that Justin is not involved in protection procedures, they may seek to patent the information and claim ownership. The danger of this incident is that if other parties patent the technology before Justin is that it may be relatively difficult for him to present his ideas because he can no longer claim ownership.
Patenting technology is the best approach of preventing the likely situation of Justin losing his ideas to other parties. Engaging an intellectual property specialist would be a technique through which Justin develops ways of dissemination information during his presentation without losing its integrity. Integrity of information and technology is considered important in enhancing the position of an idea in the market. For Justin, intellectual property protection may be an effective technique of securing his idea because it will also provide a more sensible approach of introducing the technology in the market. If the idea is successful during the presentation, Justin may be able to access additional opportunities because intellectual property protection because through the interventions of the intellectual property specialist it will be possible to develop the most effective techniques of moving forwards in the market and how to obtain strong protection as the idea grows. Intellectual property protection will improve on the level of awareness of the market potential and the techniques of how to improve on its value in the market.
It is important for the institution through the intellectual property specialist to develop policies that are written and current to enhance their effectiveness. It is however not sufficient to develop a policy and expect every student and employees within the institution to understand and comply. This makes it important to educate employees and students on policies on intellectual property and tested regularly on their understanding and ability to apply the policy. The practicality and relevance of the policy on intellectual property protection is effective if all the parties are involved in its development and amendments.
With the help of the intellectual property specialist, Justin will be sensitized on his responsbility of filing the intellectual property disclosure form. This form is a document, which will assist Justin as an individual engaged in active research activities that have the potential of intellectual property in disclosing their activities. Through this form, it will be possible for Justin to seek expert advice on intellectual property protection and development. Furthermore, this form will also enable Justin to receive prioritized access to different forms of support while obtaining authorization for intellectual property exploitation. By filing the disclosure form, Justin will be exposed to the policies and regulations that necessitate the need to comply with the reporting requirements of the university.
From a legal perspective on intellectual property protection, if Justin is involved in public revelation of his secret during the presentation, he loses the rights of ownership and he has no rights to exclusive claims. Too much information under the first to file patent law, disclosing details of an innovation in the public domain before applying for a patent will make the idea no longer patentable implying that anyone can use it.
The conflict between Justin and the technology transfer department is related to the need to protect the ideas and innovations developed in the university. While Justin insists on the essence of sharing scientific knowledge for the development of the society, the university insists that sharing too much information before protecting it may be detrimental to the idea and its viability in the future. Intellectual property and technology issues are important to the university. This is because the dynamic nature of the technological environment explains why the university encourages innovations among students and the employees. Innovations such as the idea presented by Justin on climate change will improve on the quantification on the impacts of climate change.
Protecting the idea will be the most effective way of resolving the underlying issues. This is because through such protection, the university aims at ensuring that innovations abide by the Bayh-Dole Act that requires institutions of higher learning to work through their technology transfer offices in ensuring that institutional research discoveries, which are often funded by the federal government, are successful when commercialized in the private sector. The technology transfer office through the intellectual transfer office has noticed that the ideas presented by Justin have the potential of succeeding in the commercial world. However, Justin’s ignorance on the essence of intellectual property protection may result in the failure of the idea to penetrate the commercial world especially when he shares too much information with third parties to the innovation.
The university will be require Justin to initiate an intellectual property protection activity through the technology transfer office, not for the generation of profits but ensure that the idea generates the greatest contribution to the society by contributing to solutions aimed at mitigating climate change. Intellectual property protection is considered as an effective way of resolving the issue because it will provide Justin with a platform of maintaining the uniqueness. It also minimizes the possibility that upon presenting his idea at the national society meeting he will not be exploited by players who may want to associate with him and his ideas because of the underlying profits upon commercialization.
Justin’s presentation is two days away, which means that it may take a longer period before he obtains full intellectual property protection rights. However, through the technology transfer office Justin can receive and insights from the intellectual property specialist on how to protect his idea when presenting it to the national society. The signing of a nondisclosure agreement, which is a form of confidentiality agreement. This agreement must be signed before the presentation to ensure that all details presented will be protected. Upon signing the nondisclosure agreement, it will be illegal for any party at the national society meeting to use Justin’s ideas. Since the nondisclosure agreement is a contract like any other, parties that breach the contact can be sued.
The agreement will help in protection the ideas by Justin because it will define confidential information. Despite this underlying benefit, every nondisclosure agreement excludes some information from protection. This will require the input of the intellectual property specialist who will train Justin on the content of his presentation to ensure that only protected information is presented. The agreement will also provide details on the obligations of the recipients of the confidential information especially on limiting the use of such information. For such parties, it is illegal to breach the confidential relationship. Furthermore, a nondisclosure agreement is often a temporary approach to intellectual property protection. Through the advice of the technology, transfer office on the applicable, time. This will be aimed at a higher bargaining power for Justin to enhance his ability to maximize on the available time for intellectual protection. However, in the event that the parties in the national society decline to sign the nondisclosure agreement, Justin should not present his idea during the meeting because he risks losing his rights to the innovation. The establishment of a confidential relationship will give Justin legal rights similar to those created in a written agreement despite the difficulty in proving the existence of an implied relationship
Case 4: Social Responsibility
Personal experrinces are major motivating factors for some scientists to become advocates. These scientists consider science a platform for expressing to the society their life experiences and the techniques that were used in finding solutions to these problems. These scientists believe that by advocating against certain societal ills, they will play a contributory role in eradicating future occurrences.
Inability of policy makers to introduce effective measures to address societal challenges also motivates some scientists to become advocates. These scientists believe that their knowledge in science and their research endeavors will contribute to growth in knowledge and information on the best measures that can be used in addressing these ills. Furthermore, these scientists also believe that it is through their research work that the society can develop effective measures to address challenges
The provision of a platform for minority voices in the society may also motivate scientists to become advocates. These scientists believe that most of the ills in the society are underreported and this makes it necessary for scientists to act as the representatives of the underrepresented members of the society. For these scientists it would be an abrogation of their responsbility if they remained quiet in the face of unresolved and underrepresented social issues.
Social responsbility of scientists to the world can be a motivating factor for scientists to engage in advocacy. Since scientists possess an enormous amount of knowledge on different issues in the society, they have a responsbility if disseminating that information in ways that educate and lead members of the society towards addressing social ills. By advocating for their discoveries, scientists can also enhance the validity of their new findings in the community of scientists. Educating the public on different elements related to science will help in reducing the level of scientific ignorance in the society while improving on their levels of trust. Furthermore, it will also help in reducing the level of reliance in religious mythologies and pseudoscience which have contributed to the understanding of scientific aspects based on myths and unfounded theoretical assumptions.
Helen will address this issue by sensitizing her students on their role as scientists and advocates in the society. The process will require the provision of vital information in the ethical expectations especially when dealing with issues related to their experiences. While asserting the relevance of scientists in participating in larger conversations, Helen must stress on why it is important to maintain objectivity of the study by ensuring that any debate or research initiative is informed by honest assessment of the underlying issues.
Helen should also explain to her students the essence of operating in accordance with the ethical expectations. The need to address issues in the society through research can only be considered effective if scientists and their data stay out of the fray by upholding neutrality. Data from their research will only be considered credible and valuable to the society if they can refrain from going beyond their expertise. This will require the minimization of personal opinions or editing data to meet personal expectations.
Providing students with information regarding research misconduct and data management can be a critical technique through which Helen can ensure that the students uphold he principles of integrity and objectivity when engaged in any research practice. This means that it is the responsbility of Helen to engage the students in a collaborative data verification process to assess the extent to which data they generate is a reflection of the perceptions and ideas of the society. The students will realize this to be involved in data collection and verification exercises which are aimed at representing data as presented by the respondents. This process will also involve providing students with insights on their level of involvement in the research process while providing details of the boundaries that exist in data presentation and analysis. These details will be helpful to the students because they will also provide the consequences of any form of malpractice in the research process. The students will develop an understanding of their roles as advocates in the world of science.
Falsification of data and suppression of data in any scientific research with the objective of realizing certain scientific goals are relatively different acts of ethical malpractice in science. This is because falsification involves actions such as intentional change or omission of data with the objective of supporting a conclusion or a hypothesis. The process of data falsification includes manipulation of instruments of research, research process, research materials, and images in a manner that distorts the data. The process of data falsification entails the inclusion of unverified information to enhance the possibility that a research hypothesis will be supported.
Suppressing data that does not support a conclusion involves acts such as failing to publish significant findings because of the probable adverse effects to the interests of the researcher or the sponsors. Despite the differences, these acts can be considered similar to the extent they contribute to the loss of research credibility and the reputation of the scientists especially in their ability to maintain objectivity in research.
Unlike falsification of data, which involves inappropriate manipulation of data, suppression of data is an act of scientific malpractice, which is characterized by misrepresentation of data. In this situation, the researcher knowingly omits or excludes certain elements of data from the final publication with the objective of finding claims that support a specific conclusion. The process of data exclusion in the form of suppression is considered a malpractice because it denies the audience of the data an opportunity of understanding the possible variables that could be used in explaining particular phenomenon. The process of data exclusion implies that the other entire element included in the research is truthful and valid but may fail to meet the standards of objectivity and integrity of research because they are incomplete. This is different from falsification of data, which includes the introduction of elements that are foreign to the research. These elements may include the introduction of unverified information. This is an act of data mismanagement because it may result in eventual nullification of the entire research process because the conclusion will be based on falsity
It is ethically unacceptable for scientists to suppress the publication of valid data for social reasons because this constitutes an act of scientific misconduct. The role of any research endeavor in science is to provide valid data that can be used in the development of objective conclusions. When a scientist suppresses the publication of valid data of social reasons, he is considered to be in violation of his professional code of conduct. It is the ethical obligation of researchers to not only produce data as collected but also to engage in a process that facilitate the evaluation of their evidence based knowledge. This is only possible when all data is published and shared among researchers. The process of sharing data helps in promoting scientific progress and encouraging the culture of openness and accountability in science.
Past social experiences can play an important role in motivating scientists to engage in research initiatives aimed at finding lasting solutions to these problems. The process of collecting data must be based on objectivity and openness. Through such a process, it will be possible for scientists to develop an understanding of the social as presented by the data and produce valid recommendations. However, suppressing valid data can be perceived as an act of omission. Failing to provide information is an indication that a scientist was attempting to hide results and this makes him guilty of misconduct. Belief systems have been considered as major contributors to suppression of valid data in research. These belief systems are damaging to professionalism in science because they are often subjective. Subjectivity among researchers is ethically unacceptable because it limits the ability of research to embrace phenomenon, as it exists in the society. When a scientist finds that his data is not related to his belief systems, he is most likely to suppress such data to ensure that his conclusion conform to his belief systems.
Scientists should engage in social activism using their data so long as they are engaged in responsible advocacy. This will require the scientists to voice their concerns about a social issue while separating the facts from assumptions. Responsible advocacy will require scientists to communicate their values truthfully and fairly in ways that will ensure that they differentiate personal concussions and scientific consensus. The process of responsible advocacy should also be based on the acknowledgement that people with different value systems that would require different policy choices inhabit society. This will be a demonstration of the level of awareness among such scientists on the effects of their values and opinions on the objectivity of science.
Through responsible advocacy, it will be possible for scientists to seek solutions to evidence based issues. The essence of this approach to openness is that scientists will be demonstrating their ability to maintain a balance between their emotional and cognitive capacities. Advocacy will help scientist in filtering and interpreting information.
While embracing the use of their data in advocacy, it is possible for scientists to express their ideas in the form of activism by ensuring that their scientific findings get to the hands of relevant people who possess the capacity of comprehending the results and using them in seeking solutions to social problems. This is not an implication that the objectivity and integrity of science is at risk but that scientists are playing their advocacy role by being communicators of scientific findings to a wide and appropriate audience. This means that science-based advocacy and activism can be done by introducing structures and measures that ensure that the best scientific results are in the right hands at the right time and in the right format. However, it is possible to argue that the cat of proving neutral and relevant information may not be advocacy unless arguments are developed for specific actions such as policy changes or management. This can be considered as an ineffective approach to scientific advocacy because irrespective of the methodology used in dissemination of data, it is considered an act of advocacy so long as it is intended towards lobbying the policy makers in the society to embrace a specific direction of action.
Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR)
Research misconduct is considered as any action in publication that is representative of significant departure from acceptable and documented practices in research. This includes activities that have been executed irresponsibly, perceptively and purposely with the objective of supporting a specific conclusion. Furthermore, research misconduct in publication must also be proven by a preponderance of evidence detailing areas of discrepancy. Other than falsification, fabrication and plagiarism research misconduct in publication should also include a list of deliberate or intentional behavior, which have the ability of undermining the validity of research records or compromise the safety and health of the public. In any research activity, the public expects benefits from the funds invested in the research process. Moreover, according to public expectations researcher must be involved in actions that facilitate effective use of financial resources and minimize the possibility of introducing false and unreliable information in research publications.
Fabrication, falsification, and plagiarism are not the only irresponsible research practices that can compromise the level of validity and reliability of research records. This is because the development in different fields of research has led researchers to include other presumably serious violations of norms of research. Practices such as publication of experimental results without making such an action apparent to the researchers are an act of misconduct. Misconduct can also include overselling the essence of research findings in the abstract and the decision to design an experiment using techniques that favor research conclusions that the researcher desires. There are also violations that include the decision by a researcher to have his name included in a publication even when he was not a participant in the design, interpretation, and publication of the research. Research misconduct in publication from this approach includes all activities that compromise the integrity and objectivity of research practices.
The institution has introduced policies and procedures that ensure that researchers are involved in practices that uphold objectivity and integrity in research. These measures and strategies include the presence of administrators accredited to receive and scrutinize accusations of delinquency in research. The role of these officials is to provide for a formal investigation for an inquiry for determining whether research misconduct allegations have any merits.
The institution operates on the realization that there is need to protect individuals who report instances of research misconduct. By protecting the whistle blowers, the institution not only promotes integrity because it provides safe platforms for individual to report any instances of misconduct. Basic protection requires the institution to refrain from penalizing individuals who report research misconduct in good faith. Even in situations where the accusations are not sustained, the whistle blowers must be protected because they play a vital role in enhancing integrity of the research.
Effective acts self-regulation in a study depends on meticulous public involvement. This requires individual researchers to assume responsbility for their actions, address issues of misconduct objectively by minimizing their engagement in such practices and reporting apparent misconduct by other researchers. This not only enhances personal integrity but also promotes the integrity of the research process. Self-regulation is effective in enhancing integrity in research when the researchers understand their roles and responsbility towards the community of researchers and the associated institutions. This involves an understanding of the processes and procedures that define research process and the expectations on every researcher. An instructor guided research approach also plays a role in promoting self-regulation. This is because, through the instructor, it will be possible for a researcher to understand the existing expectations and the techniques of enhancing an individual’s ability to engage in reputable research activities. Self-regulation policies are founded on the understanding that research institutions and researchers bear the primary responsbility of assessing, investigating, and reporting any allegations of research misconduct. This assumption is in agreement with the position that research, as a profession, should be involved in the regulation of its own conduct.
Part of the role of researcher is to promote integrity and objectivity of research activities. These approaches are important in maintaining the validity and asserting the reliability of data. When a researcher notices the existence of any form of discrepancy that may suggest misconduct, he has the obligation of reporting to the relevant authorities even if it means that such as action would affect his career. This is because according to the existing policies on research integrity, failing to report a crime is in itself a crime that warrants sanctions in the form of penalties. Research misconduct that can affect decision-making process in medical fields or any other platform is considered risky for individuals and the society and this classifies such misconduct as crimes.
In addition to the criminal trait, researchers are obligated to report research transgression. This is because by failing to do so they undermine their proficient self-regulation objective. This means that failure to report misconduct is misconduct in itself. Research institutions have the responsbility of instituting measures aimed at the protection of researchers who report any form of misconduct. These whistle blower protection policies play the role of motivating researchers to report any form of discrepancy. These policies will ensure that the identity of the person who has drawn the attention of the institution to probable research misconduct will not be disclosed to the subject of the allegation. This clause is effective except in situations where the identity is considered as a necessity in facilitating the institution’s investigation or where it is considered necessary for the purpose of executing natural justice or when acting in accordance with the law.
The responsbility of avoiding any form of misconduct in research is considered as a minimum standard for the responsible conduct for researchers. This means that when a researcher notices any form of violation, he has the moral obligation of notifying the relevant authorities. This moral obligation emanates from the understanding that failure to report may jeopardize the integrity of the institution and individual researchers. Failure to report may also be detrimental to the image of the researcher. This is especially when other bodies recognize such misconduct and the researchers who failed to report are accused of withholding important information that could have led to the development of solutions at an earlier stage. Furthermore, the moral responsbility of researchers to the institution of research also requires strict adherence to ethical principles and this makes it an obligation for every researcher to be observant and participatory in the promotion of the integrity of the research institution.