[Air-L] Ethics and grad students

mhward mhward at usyd.edu.au
Tue Aug 14 17:54:42 PDT 2007

I think this is another interesting issue. Neither of my supervisors want to
be listed on my papers routinely, and we have all agreed that I will decide
whether their contribution to a paper will be sufficient for me to add their
name. (At Sydney we don't have the concept of 'chairing' the thesis - the
entire PhD is usually examined on the thesis alone and the supervision of
the work is generally by one or two people, and although this not the case
across Australia it is still a very common practice. It's also the subject
of my own PhD.) However, both of them are full professors (ie very senior
academics in our system) and I'm a (very!) mature student. I don't feel I
need their names for credibility and they don't feel they need to be on my
papers for their reputations or to increase their research output.

On the other hand, my partner is supervising several research students in
the Nursing Faculty of this University. She contributes a lot to her
students' publications - beyond editing and providing the odd reference -
and she (quite rightly) has her name as a secondary author on all of their
publications as of right.


On 15/8/07 10:36 AM, "McLaughlin, Lisa M. Dr." <mclauglm at muohio.edu> wrote:

> This question addresses an important, and, in my opinion, most troubling
> question. To directly respond to the question, our human subjects protocol
> requires that the student who is conducting the master's/doctoral research be
> listed as the chief investigator, although this isn't necessary to prove in
> order to graduate with the degree. The most aggregious ethical problem, it
> seems to me, is that it's become business-as-usual among faculty members to
> put their names on any publications which come out of 'their' graduate
> students' research. This is 'because, after all, I contributed to the
> publication by chairing the thesis/dissertation', to quote a friend with whom
> I disagreed about this practice.
> I have heard that this is a common practice in the hard sciences and sometimes
> the social sciences. But, I have to take exception to faculty members'
> hijacking of research which is largely or mostly conducted by graduate
> students. Actually, I was a bit blind-sided to hear that this might be a
> common practice. One excuse by some faculty members: that having their
> (obviously 'known') names on the article submission would help to launch
> 'their' graduate student to the top; often, it's seemed to me that this
> practice is more of a case of graduate students' work allowing some faculty
> members to seem to be producing more research.
> I'd be interested in others' opinions on this issue (m-h included). I have
> been accused of being too entrenched in my view, and I welcome feedback if
> that's the case.
> All the best,
> Lisa
> (to sort of 'place' myself, I'm an associate professor with a joint
> appointment in media studies and women's studies)

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