Identifier 151201
TitleWriting and scientific misconduct: ethical and legal aspects
Type of publicationpreprint
Author(s)M.J.T.F. Cabbolet
Keywordsscientific misconduct, pseudoskepticism, science writing
Publication date2015-12-01
AbstractTo maintain a minimum standard of quality in science, it is an imperative in scientific writing that one avoids committing scientific misconduct. What is important in this context is that scientific misconduct doesn’t have to be intentional: one can unintentionally end up being found guilty of scientific misconduct. That being said, the main aim of this chapter is to give guidelines for how to avoid committing scientific misconduct. A distinction is made between type one and type two scientific misconduct – the former serves a self-interest, while the latter serves to discredit others – and first guidelines are given for how to apply widely accepted principles of good scientific practice avoid forms of type one scientific misconduct like (self-)plagiarism and meddling with data. Second, guidelines are given for how to avoid forms of type two scientific misconduct, in particular putting forward falsely negative conclusions about the scientific quality of someone else’s work in an emotional outburst. To illustrate this with an example: what has to be avoided is that one, after typographically not having recognized some formulas in someone else’s work as known mathematics, angrily reports without any further argumentation that the scientific quality of the work is substandard qua mathematics – this is type two scientific misconduct if it concerns correct mathematics that were simply unknown to the reader. A second aim of this chapter is to list the consequences if scientific misconduct is nevertheless committed: the above guidelines will not prevent intentional misconduct, but fear for the consequences might be an effective deterrent.
CopyrightOpen access