Thursday, March 15, 2007

Stealing Ideas?

Janet Stemwedel reports in her blog "Adventures of Ethics and Science" :
In this week's issue of Chemical & Engineering News, there's an article about a chemist at Stockholm University who's in hot water for stealing other scientists' ideas that they presented at lectures and symposia -- rushing back to his own lab to set up and run the same experiments, then failing to cite the sources of these stolen ideas. Full disclosure: I'm a quoted source in the article.
The link, unfortunately, is to a page that is for subscribers only. Luckily (I suppose) there is someone in China with no regard for copyright, so the contents of the page is pasted under the title of "Giving Proper Credit" (!! giving no credit to the actual source).

A number of researchers have complained of A. Córdova having listened to them lecture returning to his lab, repeating their results and publishing them in other journals without referencing their work. There has been an investigation, and consequenses have been levied.

From this article we learn about the consequences :
Stockholm University counters that the consequences for Córdova are appropriately tough, pointing out that his violations do not include scientific fraud. Córdova must attend an ethics course, and he must present papers to his dean for review before he submits them to journals for publication-a detrimental delay for a young investigator in a fast-moving field of science.
I can turn up no other google-able reports on this case. Instead, one reads of prize after prize that he has won in Sweden, and there are some papers available online (not that non-chemists can read them).

This is a fine line - what exactly is original research? Is it ethical to get inspiration this way? Should there not perhaps be mandatory ethics courses for all young researchers? I would appreciate more information on this case, if anyone has particulars.

1 comment:

  1. He has since been promoted to full professor! What a joke!

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