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Faculty Forum Papers


Donald B. Miller, Civil Engineering

February 1984


The following occurred at OSU in recent years.

1. As part of a M.S. degree program, a graduate student wrote a report describing part of a sponsored (NSF) research project. The student report was subsequently revised and excerpted by the principal investigators and used as a chapter in an NSF report. About 70% of the chapter, including some conclusions, was taken verbatim or nearly verbatim from the student report, yet the listed authors of the chapter were the principal investigators; the student's name was omitted.

2. A research paper, as published in a scientific journal, listed 3 authors: 2 graduate students and a faculty person. Several years later the journal paper was recycled as a chapter of a report for the U.S. Department of Interior. The Chapter and the journal paper were nearly identical, differing only in a few sentences. But the USDI report chapter omitted the names of the graduate students, and there was no indication that the chapter had a previous existence as a journal paper.

3. A research group included principal investigators, research assistants, graduate research assistants, etc. A typical major report from this group listed as participants: Principal Investigator, Co-investigators (2), Research assistants and associates (7) and Graduate Research Assistants and Fellows (9). But another major report that included many members of the same research group listed as authors the Principal Investigator and Co-investigators. There was no acknowledgment of other participants even though at least 15 Research Assistants and Graduate Research Assistants had participated in the project.

Comments: These situations, are examples of irregularities and inconsistencies in listing of authors and participants of research reports. Including as authors those whose contributions to a report are insufficient to qualify for authorship is another likely problem in listing authors.

The three examples occurred in three different schools. How common such situations are is unknown.

Recommendations: OSU should adopt criteria and guidelines for authorship and acknowledgment for participants in published research. The criteria and guidelines should be part of the Faculty Handbook. Donald B. Miller
Civil Engineering
February 1983
Opinions expressed by authors of Faculty Forum articles are not necessarily those of the OSU Faculty or Faculty Senate.