Ethics in Authorship of Scientific Publication # 4 : What Could Possibly Happen If One Do Ethically Incorrect Publication Authorship?

Say no to ethically incorrect authorshipsWhile it is still continuing the discussion about ethically incorrect authorship in scientific publications, I should probably illustrate what possibly could happen if one do ethically incorrect authorship in scientific publications. These are very important issues that need to be addressed by all parties before ones have to face the difficult situation oneself one way or the others.

Lets assume the following situations:
Case # 1 : Si-A, a university lecturer, coordinates research projects funded by Ministry of Education and he invited a PhD. graduate student (si-B) into the project. Si-B actually conducts part of the research project coordinated by si-A and use them to write his dissertation. At the end of si-B PhD program, three papers have been submitted by si-A with his name as the primary authors in all of them and with si-B as co-author.

Lets consider at the possible twist of the story :
To illustrate the worst story that possibly could happen – si-B is very unhappy that he only be a co-author in all of the three publications coming from his dissertation. In this case, si-B eventually challenges si-A for ethically incorrect authorship of the research works. Although si-A is the one who own the project fund but si-B argues that he executed all the works and he want a fair share of the publications.

If this story should happen, si-A would have been positioned in a difficult situation. He would have to defend himself for the possible fraud of conduct (‘pelanggaran akademik‘). Regardless who will win the battle, si-A’s reputation would have been tarnished by the fraud allegation.

Since this is just an illustration, it is not important to conclude who will win and who will loose at the end. The important point I would like to make is the whole mumbo-jumbo should have not happened if from the beginning, si-A give a fair share in primary authorship of the publications, instead of putting his name as primary author in the three of them.

Although this is only an imaginary story, there is a possibility that this story can happen in real life. The question remain – are we willing to risk our reputation by doing ethically incorrect authorship such as the above illustration in Case #1? In my opinion, it is not worth it. Therefore, better reconsider a number of times before you decide to do ethically incorrect autorship before you loose the reputation you have build a lifetime. Happy writing sientific publication…!

About PMB Lab: Prof. Sudarsono

This blog is dedicated as a communication media among alumni associated with PMB Lab, Dept. of Agronomy and Horticulture, Fac. of Agriculture, IPB, Bogor – Indonesia. It contains various information related to alumni activities, PMB Lab’s on going activities and other related matters.
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