On 20th January the University of Sheffield is running an event that will look at the ethical
challenges that arise when undertaking collaborative research:
Smooth collaboration depends on strong relationships based on openness and trust and on open-mindedness, a willingness to understand others’ perspectives, disciplinary norms and ways of working. But collaborators also need to be able to agree on fundamental issues such as what constitutes acceptable data management practices or the criteria for being named as an author.
This event could not be more timely.
In December the UK Government’s Department for Business Innovation and Skills published ‘Our plan for growth: Science and Innovation':
It sets out the current UK Government’s long-term strategy on science and innovation. This document states that five themes have influenced the direction of the Government’s strategy.
‘Collaboration’ is one of the themes:
“If excellence has a strong element of robust competition in its essence, there is also a growing role for cooperation” (page 11).
‘Openness’ is another of the themes:
“Science can benefit from coming under challenge. For instance, less latitude is now given to non-reproducibility of scientific studies, driving greater rigor” (page 12).
As the trend towards more collaborative research steps up a gear more and more researchers will need and want to take an interest in the practices and standards of their potential collaborators. This is in order to better understand the methodologies of their collaborators but also in order to be reassured sufficiently about the rigor of how they do research and integrity of their research outputs. The University’s expectations are set out in GRIP: