Question 1

Choose one of the above case studies and outline the issues related to the authorship. How should the protagonists in each case be credited? Are they authors or not?
In the second case study the experienced researcher Cassie clearly contributes to the research process by doing the fieldwork and analysing the data and engaging in the planning of the project. According to the VELiM guidelines regarding authorship (The Centre for Values, Ethics and the Law in Medicine, 2016), the writing up for the funding is not enough to credit authorship but the researcher Cassie also participated in the data collection and planning and the analysis of the data which is one of the principal duties of the author and the contribution to the research project or the paper is enough contribution to warrant authorship as it is clearly stated in the principle 5 in the VELiM guidelines (The Centre for Values, Ethics and the Law in Medicine, 2016). And the first principle that the other two accused investigators ignored is the principle 1 where the transparency was not present in the research and principle 3  (The Centre for Values, Ethics and the Law in Medicine, 2016) where the authorship must be discussed among the research group from the start which could have been in the time before Cassie went on maternity leave.
In this case Cassie is definitely an author according to the VELiM guidelines as the other two researchers clearly resorted to unethical practices to deprive Cassie who made great intellectual contribution to the paper and the claim that the write up should be seen as the main criteria as it is not a part of the duties of researcher but the primary author according to guidelines as the researcher can contribute in many other ways which might make their authorship indisputable in the cases.

 

 

Question 2

Using the chosen case, develop a way by which these problems might have been avoided.
The chosen case has given a clear proof of unethical behaviour that might warrant reprisal according to the guidelines regarding authorship. The problem could have been avoided if the paper or the subject matter of the paper was disclosed before Cassie went on the maternity leave. This would have prevented the dispute as the use of Cassie’s information or her research might not have raised any problems as the data collection is not enough grounds for authorship. But the unethical part of the process is in the transparency of the process which caused the conflict as the paper that was planned and the publication decision was not discussed on a research meeting. This is compulsory for all papers published from a research that has been contributed to by all of the research team ("Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research - Summary | National Health and Medical Research Council", 2007).

In addition to this the authorship or the order the names of authors are published are matter of discussion and the point has to be agreed upon by all of the research team before the paper can be published. This problem could have been avoided if the discussion was done over telephone or in person after Cassie re-joined duty. It is clear from the attitude of the other two investigators that the omission of the name of Cassie and the disregard for her contribution was intentional. So, the problem lies in the approach and attitude of the investigators that would need changing. 

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