Bioethics - Purdue Lectures in Ethics, Policy, and Science

Podcasts on Publishing Ethics

In a 2010 proposal Nicolae Morar, co-founder of the "Lectures" wrote:

"The issue of ethics and publishing has recently appeared in numerous headlines of the major science journals like Nature, Science1, etc. In June, in his article “Keeping up the scientific standards,”2 Martin Blum points out a clear case of data manipulation that led to one of the biggest publishing fraud in physics. In July, in their editorial “The insider’s guide to plagiarism,” Nature Medicine identifies a set of frequent strategies, insidiously called “creative writing,” often used in science publishing. Here is the recipe: “Use a solid paper as your base; carry out a set of parallel experiments in your favorite model; tweak the data so that the numbers are not identical but remain realistic; and, when you are ready to write it all up, paraphrase the original paper ad libitum. Last, submit your new manuscript to a modest journal in the hopes that the authors of the paper you used as ‘inspiration’ won’t notice your ‘tribute to their work.”3 Does this strategy work? Unfortunately, says the editorial, “all too often it does.”4 This observation leads the editors of Nature Medicine to the almost inevitable conclusion that science plagiarism today is “a problem as serious as fraud that has not received all the attention it deserves.”The successful framework addressing these significantly devastating effects of fraudulent research not only for the scientific community but also for the public trust needs to integrate enabling technologies in education."

1 Tare Long et al., “Scientific Integrity: Responding to Possible Plagiarism,” Science, 323, 6 March 2009, p.1293-4
2 Martin Blum, “Keeping up scientific standards,” Nature 459, 645-646 (4 June 2009)
3 Editorial, “The Insider’s guide to Plagiarism,” Nature Medicine, 15(July, 2009):7, p.707
4 Ibid. 
5 Ibid.


The following fellowship project led to the development of the following podcasts on publishing ethics. All conversations took place during the 2010-2011 academic year.

Eliot Marshall
Eliot Marshall, Deputy News Editor, Science Magazine
for the interview, click here.
Eric Meslin
Eric Meslin, Professor and Director of the IU Center for Bioethics
for the interview, click here.
Peter Snyder
Peter Snyder, Professor and VP for Research LifeSpan Affiliated Hospitals
for the interview, click here.
Nicholas Steneck
Nicholas Steneck, Professor and Director, Michigan Institute for
Clinical and Health (MICHR) Research Ethics Program
for the interview, click here.
Liz Wager
Liz Wager, Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE)
for the interview, click here.