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Code of Conduct in Research


1. Introduction: Ethical codes are adopted by organizations to assist members in understanding the difference between “right” and “wrong” and in applying that understanding to their decisions. Research ethics involves the application of fundamental ethical principles to research. The aspect where research ethics applied include the design and implementation of research involving human experimentation, animal experimentation, various aspects of academic dishonesty or academic misconduct, including scientific misconduct (such as fraud, fabrication of data and plagiarism), regulation of research, etc.

2. Code of Conduct in Research: The following are some of the code of conduct in research-
a) Self Reflective: The researcher should use only the techniques, tools to which they are familiar.
b) Seek Permission to Undertake Research: In most countries, the researchers have to take permission to conduct research or they will be expelled from the field of study or the country as a whole.
c) Take Due Care of the Research Participants: Participation is the voluntary contribution by the people towards achieving the goal of the researcher and by this way a process of involvement in their own development, their lives and environment. In case of field study, the researcher should go with sufficient imagination, and care to prevent spoiling the field for himself / herself or for the future researcher. If the researcher makes some promise with the participants, then he/she must try to keep them. The research participants should also be given guarantees of confidentiality and anonymity, unless there are clear and overriding researches to do otherwise.
i) Voluntary Participation: Participants should be voluntary in all types of research. No researcher should bring the participants under some compulsion. If required the researcher can also sign in consent form from the respondents.
ii) Confidentiality and Anonymity: There are a number of ways in which participants can be harmed; it may be physical, psychological, emotional, embarrassment and so on. So the research data should be aggregated in such a manner where individuals cannot be identified, if it is necessary to quote the respondents name, potential harm should be identified and measures should be taken to overcome such harm and necessary permission should be taken from the respondent to quote their name.
iii) Right of Review: The participants have every right to review the data before going for publication. So for a researcher it is good to communicate with them.
iv) Informed Consent: If a particular research may harm participants, the participants should be informed and consent should be taken in advance. In publicizing the result of research, personal data may lead to mutual protection, political sensitivity, and private issues (family affairs, tax avoidance, etc). So, the researcher should take the consent before publicizing any data regarding research participants.
v) Risk Assessment: Science is certainty; research is uncertainty. Science is supposed to be cold, straight and detached; research is warm, involving and risky. Science solved the problems; research creates controversies. So before publicizing data, the researcher should assess the risk regarding psychological stress, legal liabilities, political, social etc. of the research participants.
d) Acknowledging Others: The researcher should always acknowledge others who are associated with their research work. But, including the names of persons, who had little or nothing to do with the research is deception again.
e) Respect Intellectual Ownership: Representing some one’s work as one’s own is called as plagiarism and it may lead to expulsion from the institution. So, please deal with it properly. “Unless otherwise stated, what you write will be regarded as your own work; the ideas will be considered you own unless you say to the contrary” (Walliman, 2005, p. 336). So, one should be honest, fair and respect other's work and are expected to give same kind of treatment what he/she expects from the readers of their own publication(s) and it will be good to use other's text, diagram, table, data, picture with their permission only (generally for academic work, author as well as publisher feels free to grant permission to use their material in your work). The worst offence against this ethic is called “Plagiarism” and in order to avoid the stigma and shame of being labeled as one, acknowledging others work is always needed.
f) Avoid Academic Frauds: Academic fraud involves the intentional misrepresentation of what has been done. Fabrication, falsification, omitting data and plagiarism constitutes misconduct and academic fraud in any research practice. So, the researcher should avoid it right from proposal to report of any research work. Making misleading or deceptive statement also constitutes academic fraud.
g) Publicize Results for a Single Time: Publicizing the same article in more than one journal distorts citation indexes and is therefore a bad practice. It is also a means to degrade your own contribution to the total human knowledge. It is unethical to prepare a report that is the same, or basically similar, to a report completed for another purpose.

3. Violation of Code of Conduct in Research: The violation of the code of conduct in research leads to the following
a) Plagiarism: Plagiarism is the stealing and publication of another author’s language, thoughts, ideas, or expressions and the representation of them as one’s own original work. Plagiarism is considered academic dishonesty and leads to penalties, suspension, and even expulsion.
b) Copyright Infringement: Copyright infringement is the use of works protected by copyright law without permission, infringing certain exclusive rights granted to the copyright holder, such as the right to reproduce, distribute, display or perform the protected work, or to make derivative works.
c) Fabrication: The falsification of data, information, or citations in research or any formal academic exercise.
d) Deception: Deception is acts to propagate beliefs of things that are not true, or not the whole truth.
e) Cheating: Any attempt to give or obtain assistance in a formal academic exercise without due acknowledgment.
f) Bribery: Taking or giving money to get high score or good result. For example taking money from a company to interpret it as a best one among other companies in the research findings.
g) Sabotage: Acting to prevent others from completing their research work. This includes cutting pages out of library books or willfully disrupting the experiments of others.

4. Finding out Unethical Research Work: The following are some of the ways through which unethical research works can be identified:-
a) Perfect Data: If a reader of some research work finds some work within the documentation of the research work that reflects the perfect correlation with other sets of data, with which he/she comes across in his/her past reading then he/she tries to recall them and goes for searching the possibility to find out who (present or past researcher) tries to hide what. Such type of human behavior leads to finding out the unethical research work. This type of unethical research identification frequently happens in case when someone goes with the research work of their peer group’s research.
b) Plagiarized Text: Some times in going through the text of a particular research work, the evaluator or the expert or other reader is able to recall in the way that “I have read it earlier, is it the same article I am reading it again?”. What he/she will do in the next step is he/she tries to find out where is the problem? Such types of intuition for validity also lead to identification of unethical research work.
c) More Subjects than What Really Exists: In the process of falsification and fabrication of data, sometimes may lead to an increase number of subjects than what really exist. If such types of things happen then the readers who are alert with the field can easily identify the work as unethical research work. Suppose there are 17 colleges in a city, and one’s research study reveals it as 18 then the person who knows that only 17 colleges are there can easily identify the present work through which he/she has gone recently as an unethical work.
d) Data not Supported by Methodologies: There may be occasions when a researcher used methodology and data reflects opposite direction. If such an occasion happens then the reader is easily able to guess the work as unethical.
e) Time: If some research finding comes out to the surface within a short amount of time than what it should consume, there may be occasion where the falsification in the data may be there.
f) Researcher is Not Capable: The peers know their professional friends and colleagues and their potentialities very well. So, when one of their colleagues publish some research work, which according to his/her friend is not capable of working in that level, he/she immediately goes for evidence to justify his/her points or to identify from which he/she copied the data. Such types of peer to peer competition also lead to identification of unethical research work.
g) Missing Link: When there are missing links in the data, the reader is easily able to guess that the researcher must hide something to consider for publication in some other journals, or for other purposes.
h) Plagiarize Text Checking Tools: Over the web nowadays there are many plagiarize text checking tools are available that check for text copied from other sources. If a reader of some research work used such tools then within a minute he/she able to find out which sentences in the present work is copied from which sources.

5. Course of Action against Unethical Research Work: Unethical research work includes loss of respect and recognition from the peers, and society at large. To have some classic examples of course of action against unethical research you can consult: Hart, Chris (2005). Doing your masters dissertation. New Delhi: Vistaar Publication. 286-296. The course of action against unethical research work includes the following.
The action taken by school / department / university where research work are undertaken includes dismissal from school / department / university, dismissal from carrying out further research work, dismissal from supervising other research work, making correctness to the research work, sending the scholar to ethical training, and just warning.
Action from the employer includes termination of employment / academic career, suspension with pay, warning, etc.
            Action taken by research funding agencies includes repayment of grant / fund / award, debarred from future research grant, etc.

6. Conclusion: Research ethics involves systematizing, defending and recommending concepts of right and wrong conduct. It is a set of concepts and principles that guide researcher in determining what behaviour helps them or harms others. Some of well designed research codes can be found in American Sociological Association (https://www.asanet.org/code-ethics), American Psychological Association Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct (https://www.apa.org/ethics/code/index), Statement of Ethical Practice for the British Sociological Association (March 2002) (https://www.britsoc.co.uk/media/23902/statementofethicalpractice.pdf), British Educational Research Association (https://www.bera.ac.uk/publication/ethical-guidelines-for-educational-research-2018), National Committee for Ethics in Social Science Research in Health (India), Office of Research Integrity (ORI) (https://ori.hhs.gov/), Oxford Brookes University (2003) code; etc.



How to Cite this Article?
APA Citation, 7th Ed.:  Barman, B. (2020). A comprehensive book on Library and Information Science. New Publications.
Chicago 16th Ed.:  Barman, Badan. A Comprehensive Book on Library and Information Science. Guwahati: New Publications, 2020.
MLA Citation 8th Ed:  Barman, Badan. A Comprehensive Book on Library and Information Science. New Publications, 2020.

Badan BarmanBadan Barman at present working as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Library and Information Science, Gauhati University, Guwahati-781014, Assam, India. He is the creator of the LIS Links (http://www.lislinks.com) - India’s most popular social networking website for Library and Information Science professionals. He also created the UGC NET Guide (http://www.netugc.com) and LIS Study (http://www.lisstudy.com) website.

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