TheOpenSeminar in Research Ethics Gary Comstock, Ph.D. Professor of Philosophy Editor-in-chief, OpenSeminar in Research Ethics
6 CHALLENGES for doctoral universities • 1. Scholarly communities • 2. Humanities research • 3. Inter-institutional collaborations • 4. Human & dollar resources • 5. Interdisciplinary conversations • 6. Discipline-specific discussions of social responsibilities
6 CHALLENGESOpenSeminar in Research Ethics’ ANSWER • 1. Scholarly community • 2. Humanities research • 3. Inter-institutional collaboration • 4. Human & dollar resources • 5. Interdisciplinary conversations • 6. Discipline specific social duties Welcome & empower students Narratives & moral philosophy OpenSeminar.org Self-guided online course Active learning in large lectures • Small departmental break-outs
Objectives for this session Assignment A. The problem: Challenges to ethical decision-making • Two responses • A decision-making procedure
Objectives for this session • The problem 1. A history of abuse 2. A culture of cheating 3. A technical conception of education 4. Apathy B. Two responses 1. Rules 2. Communities
A history of abuse, 1932 – 1974, US US Public Health Service syphilis study, Tuskegee, AL
Federal offenses: research misconductFabrication -- making up data or results and recording or reporting them.Falsification -- manipulating research materials or research subjects, equipment, or processes, or changing, or omitting data or results, such that the research is not accurately represented in the research record.Plagiarism -- appropriating and using as one’s own the documented ideas, processes, results, or words of another without giving appropriate creditFEDERAL POLICY ON RESEARCH MISCONDUCT http://www.ostp.gov/html/001207_3.html
How common? Graduate students: Business 56% Engineering 54% Physical sciences 50% Medical and health-care 49% Law 45% Social science and humanities 39% - Donald McCabe, Center for Academic Integrity, Duke U. http://today.reuters.com/news/articlenews.aspx?type=oddlyEnoughNews&storyid=2006-09-21T120800Z_01_N20379527_RTRUKOC_0_US-LIFE-CHEATING.xml&src=rss
“Less than 1% reported?” Paul Cousins, Director Office of Student Conduct “One case can cost a million dollars.”Matt Ronning, DirectorSponsored Programs
120 ORI Reported Misconduct Activity 100 80 60 40 Institutions Reporting Misconduct 20 0 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 .
44% of faculty say they have ignored cheating. 52% have never reported cheating to anyone else. Donald McCabe, Sociology, Rutgers and Center for Academic Integrity, Duke 75,000 students; 125 institutions; 2 decades; self-reported data using paper and now online survey; 2001-02 data www.lib.washington.edu/about/events/academic/Pres_2-24.ppt
More hot spotsAuthorship Who is entitled to be an author? Who decides?
From American Scientist, Sept-Oct 2004 “I didn’t exactly write the article, but … well, I didn’t exactly do the research, either.”
More hot spotsMentoring What kinds of relationships are appropriate between mentor and mentee? What are my duties as a mentor? What are my duties as a mentee? As a lab manager, how do I handle differences in work ethics? How and when do I blow the whistle on a supervisor?
Objectives for this session A. Discuss five challenges to teaching ethical decision making 1. Academic and research misconduct 2. Culture of cheating 3. Technical conception of education 4. Apathy 5. No new resources B. Discuss two model responses 1. NIH 2. NSF
1. “In … your engineering education … have you ever gotten [the] message … there is more to being a good engineering professional … than being a state-of-the-art technical expert ?” Prof. Robert McGinn 3-yr survey of Stanford engineering students, N = 700
2. “Have any of your engineering instructors ever conveyed anything specific to you about what is involved in being ethically … responsible …?” http://ethics.stanford.edu/engin_ethics/tutorials.htm
Apathy Who cares? “What's important is getting the job done. How you get it done is less important.” “All I'm doing is emulating the behavior I'll need when I get out in the real world.” - Donald McCabehttp://today.reuters.com/news/articlenews.aspx?type=oddlyEnoughNews&storyid=2006-09-21T120800Z_01_N20379527_RTRUKOC_0_US-LIFE-CHEATING.xml&src=rss
Objectives for this session A. The Problem 1. A history of abuse 2. A culture of cheating 3. Technical conception of education 4. Apathy B. Two responses 1. Rule following 2. Community formation
- The Belmont Report, 1979 Rules to protect human subjects 1. Respect for persons 2. Beneficence 3. Justice
Rules to protect human subjects National Commission for the Protection of Subjects of Biomedical and Behavioral Research (1974-78) Charge • recommend to DHEW guidelines to protect the rights and welfare of human subjects of research, particularly those with disabilities and develop principles to govern the ethical conduct of research Reports • Fetal research, children, prisoners, institutionalized mentally infirm, psychosurgery, IRBs, The Belmont Report
Improved Standards for Laboratory Animals Act, 1985IACUC Rules to protect animal subjects 1. Reduce 2. Refine 3. Replace
Rules Strengths a) Clear guidance on how to behave b) Protection for subjects used in research (IRB, etc.) c) Penalties for non-compliance Weaknesses a) Junior researchers supported and empowered? b) Emotions and self-interests engaged? c) Generalizable method for ethical decision making? d) Topics coherent?
How many rules are there? http://onlineethics.org/reseth/phspolicy.html#corins
Weaknesses Some rules not clear. Some rules contradictory. For many cases there is no rule. Is rule-following the behavior we seek?
Objectives for this session B. Two responses • Rule following 2. Community formation
Where do students learn ethical decision making? Mentor, advisor Fellow graduate students Family Friends not in graduate school Other faculty Religious beliefs Discussions in courses, labs, seminars Professional organizations Courses dealing with ethical issues - J. P. Swazey, K. S. Louis, and M. S. Anderson, “The ethical training of graduate students requires serious and continuing attention,” Chronicle of Higher Education 9 (March 1994):B1–2; J. P. Swazey, “Ethical problems in academic research,” American Scientist 81(Nov./Dec. 1993):542–53.
What is the most effective way to teach it? Interaction with faculty in research Informal discussion of ethical problems as they occur Discussion of ethics in regular courses Brown bag sessions Special courses devoted to ethics Department / university policies Codes of ethics of professional organizations J. P. Swazey, K. S. Louis, and M. S. Anderson, “The ethical training of graduate students requires serious and continuing attention,” Chronicle of Higher Education 9 (March 1994):B1–2; J. P. Swazey, “Ethical problems in academic research,” American Scientist 81(Nov./Dec. 1993):542–53.
Course overview The OpenSeminar in Research Ethics Sponsored by NSF
A method for making ethical decisions START HERE: What are the facts? Which of my interests might be harmed? What courses of action are open to me? 3 1 1. Self interests What course of action is best for me in the long run? 3. All interests How do we maximize the ratio of all interests satisfied over unsatisfied? 2 2. Professional interests What course of action is best for us in the long run? How do we respect the implicit and explicit promises made to each other in the group?
Three steps: 1. MY interests: I ought always to do what is in my long-term, categorical interests. 2. OUR interests: I ought always to do what is in my profession’s best interests. Follow the rules: Respect persons and property; be honest; treat others fairly. 3. ALL interests: I ought always to do what is in the best interests of all morally considerable beings. Try to make the world a better place: Maximize the ratio of good over evil.
“You know it’s not the honors and prizes and the fancy outsides of life which ultimately nourish our souls.” “It’s the knowing that we can be trusted, that we never have to fear the truth, that the bedrock of our very being is good stuff.” - Fred Rogers
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