Research Ethics

Blog posts and resources relating to research ethics in the social sciences. To start a new discussion on ethics, visit the forum via the above link.

Sleeping guard

Lessons from the LaCour Retraction

We need honest researchers who monitor their own behavior; we need to have scrutiny by other researchers in the field; and we need an engaged public. But what do we have, asks Judith Stark.

5 years ago
Survey crew roadsign

The Tragedy of the (Over-Surveyed) Commons

If Garrett Hardin were with us today, argues Rob Brooks, he would have saved a special place on the degraded commons to relegate those who inflict upon us all the burden of collecting meaningless data and unheeded opinion.

5 years ago
Train wreck

The Cultural Roots of the Latest Big Retraction

Social psychology has seen more than its fair share of all of ethical lapses, argues Jonathan Borwein, who notes it’s been described as a ‘train wreck.’ What are the deeper causes and implications of this most recent case of fraud in the social sciences?

5 years ago

Ladies and Gentlemen of the Jury, Consider Research Ethics

Imagine an ethics review system where the researcher’s proposal is read by an ‘ethics jury’ of four to six researchers drawn, as in legal juries, from the academic population at large, suggests Australia’s Gigi Foster.

5 years ago
Ethics drawing

Taking a Stick to Ethics Boards

Writing about her experiences in Australia, Gigi Foster wonders if ethics boards are more interested in ticking the necessary boxes and not upholding the standards that supposedly underlie the boards’ existence.

5 years ago
Ethics on scrabble board_opt

A Primer on Plagiarism and Other Publishing Sins

High-quality scientific literature is the cornerstone of scientific progress and is highly regarded by academia. However, Ritesh G. Menezes and his colleagues write in the Medico-Legal Journal, scientific literature is often marred by plagiarism, data fabrication and falsification, redundant publication and illegitimate authorship.

5 years ago

When Chasing Prestige Becomes the Prize

A survey by the Nuffield Council on Bioethics suggests that researchers appreciate the benefits of competition but also fear how it can emphasize prestige over quality

5 years ago
Colin Firth at typewriter

Colin Firth: Author, Actually

Authorship of an article seems like it ought to be straightforward, but of course it’s not. Even with greater scrutiny, abuse of the process — both adding the wrong people and subtracting the right ones — continues.

5 years ago
Ethics on scrabble board_opt

Mission Possible: Be an Ethical Social Scientist

The author of a book on research ethics for social scientists suggests that issues such as antagonism with university review boards and new complexities introduced by Big Data can make integrity a sometime elusive quality.

5 years ago