Academic Integrity

This post has been inspired by something I read over at the wonderful PhD2Published blog.  I seriously love this blog and the insight and wisdom that it so freely shares.  They run an ongoing series called Weekly Wisdom in which they share a short, snappy piece of advice.  The Weekly Wisdom this week really caught me off guard.  It’s number 40 in their ongoing series.  Here’s what is says:

Don’t give your ideas away and let someone publish before you; publicise the outline of your book, not the details!

On the face of it, that statement is not overly shocking.  But it really worried me.  Is there that little academic integrity that people would be willing to steal, claim and pillage the ideas of their colleagues in pursuit of some sort of fleeting fame?  It worries me that this could be the case.  As a young academic, just beginning my career and trying to forge my path is this what I have up ahead of me?  Is it really this ruthless?

I hope that the world that I am entering is in a better state that this.  I, for one, know that I could never blatantly steal the ideas of someone else and pass them off as my own.  I hope there is much more integrity in the world of academia that this.

I’m not even sure this is the sort of thing that Sarah from PhD2Published was hinting at or anticipating but it’s certainly what I took away from it.

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4 thoughts on “Academic Integrity

  1. Hi Jonny,

    I’ve really enjoyed reading your blog! This post is especially interesting. I made a post a few months ago about my actual PhD topic and a few people advised me to take it down – for fear of plagarism! I suppose that is the flip-side of self-publishing and the blog world: there are unscrupulous people out there!

    Good luck with your conference plans! I’m glad my post was helpful! 🙂

    Maeve

  2. Alex Pryce says:

    Does it come as such a surprise? There are often cases of plagiarism – and it isn’t just undergraduate essays. Worst case scenario someone is being paid to research and write a chapter, thesis or an essay.

    I don’t think this is endemic, but it is a threat. Like all careers, academia will have a few bad apples in the barrel. Best practice (as proposed in many of the PhD2Published posts) just means awareness of protecting your own work and respecting your colleagues too.

    Best way of getting round this one has got to be publishing and presenting on your topic before someone else does!

    • I wrote this during one of my particularly idealistic times. I know it happens, but it still isn’t pleasant – and there really is no excuse for it. It’s a worrying prospect.

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