Academic integrity

Adventures in Ethics and Science

Category archives for Academic integrity

Here we continue our examination of the final report (PDF) of the Investigatory Committee at Penn State University charged with investigating an allegation of scientific misconduct against Dr. Michael E. Mann made in the wake of the ClimateGate media storm. The specific question before the Investigatory Committee was: “Did Dr. Michael Mann engage in, or…

When you’re investigating charges that a scientist has seriously deviated from accepted practices for proposing, conducting, or reporting research, how do you establish what the accepted practices are? In the wake of ClimateGate, this was the task facing the Investigatory Committee at Penn State University investigating the allegation (which the earlier Inquiry Committee deemed worthy…

Way back in early February, we discussed the findings of the misconduct inquiry against Michael Mann, an inquiry that Penn State University mounted in the wake of “numerous communications (emails, phone calls, and letters) accusing Dr. Michael E. Mann of having engaged in acts that included manipulating data, destroying records and colluding to hamper the…

Preventing Plagiarism.

Especially in student papers, plagiarism is an issue that it seems just won’t go away. However, instructors cannot just give up and permit plagiarism without giving up most of their pedagogical goals and ideals. As tempting a behavior as this may be (at least to some students, if not to all), it is our duty…

Back in December (or as we academics call it, Exam-Grading Season), esteemed commenter Ewan told us about a horrifying situation that was unfolding for him: Probably not totally relevant, but frankly I’m still in a little shock. Graded exams Friday evening before heading out for weekend. Noted some really strong efforts (take-home exam), some really…

This week the New York Times reported on the problem of drug company-sponsored ghostwriting of articles in the scientific literature: A growing body of evidence suggests that doctors at some of the nation’s top medical schools have been attaching their names and lending their reputations to scientific papers that were drafted by ghostwriters working for…

The headlines bring news of another scientist (this time a physician-scientist) caught committing fraud, rather than science. This story is of interest in part because of the scale of the deception — not a paper or two, but perhaps dozens — and in part because the scientist’s area of research, the treatment of pain, strikes…

… and the university, in turn, fires the professor. You’ve probably already seen this story. Loye Young, an adjunct professor at Texas A&M International University in Laredo, warned his students (as we all do) against plagiarism. Indeed, as reported by Inside Higher Ed, he included this statement in his fall course syllabus for his management…

As the new calendar year approaches, I can’t help but anticipate the coming spring semester — and to hold out the hope that this one will be the semester in which none of my students commits plagiarism. Otherwise, I’m facing a perfect 12-semester streak. Near the end of last semester, one of my colleagues related…

In the 20/27 December 2007 issue of Nature, there’s a fascinating commentary by Cambridge University neuroscientists Barbara Sahakian and Sharon Morein-Zamir. Entitled “Professor’s little helper,” this commentary explores, among other things, how “cognitive-enhancing drugs” are starting to find their way into the lifestyles of professors and students on university campuses, a development which raises some…