Dena Plemmons Sigma XI Scientific Research Society
This project addresses the issue of authorship conflicts in scientific papers. Authorship conflicts may arise in any collaboration, domestic or international, but international collaborations pose unique challenges. It is unclear whether authorship conflicts in international collaborations arise due to normative differences, or due to individual transgressions that collaborators mistakenly interpret as cultural differences. Work done in the US suggests that differing perspectives on individualism, ownership or group responsibilities affect collaborations, but this variation has not been systematically documented. For authorship in particular, societal hierarchies and gifting practices have been indicated as potential sources of cultural differences. This information gap has implications for how scientists are trained in the responsible conduct of research.
The research team, led by Dena Plemmons of San Diego State University, will deploy consistent discussion group methods across nationalities and disciplines. Twenty four small peer discussion groups will be formed. Four countries, the US, China, Brazil, and Germany, and two disciplines, neuropsychology and engineering will be represented. The small discussion groups and follow-up interviews will provide foundational data to develop a survey for wide distribution, with the ultimate goal of creating a curriculum for international authorship ethics.
This research will fill an important gap in the literature on the ethics of global scientific authorship. The inclusive design of the project will provide a novel dataset of both theoretical and practical value for the survey development. It will also facilitate transparency and foster professionalism among scientific authors.