Scholarly Integrity: All That is Done Under the Sun is Known

In this blog I explore Scholarly Integrity. I looked at the Office of Research Integrity (ORI) of the US Department of Health & Human Services and the code of ethics of the professional association for engineers in Puerto Rico, the Professional College of Engineers and Land Surveyors of Puerto Rico (CIAPR in Spanish.)

When reading the code of ethics of the CIAPR in its first article it mentions that its goal is “To maintain as the primary consideration in the performance of their professional responsibilities, the safety, environment, health and well-being of the community”. The community is front and center, for this, they have to look for their safety in the designs and constructions they perform. They also have to look to improve the environment in a sustainable way to improve the quality of life and health of the citizens. Another article that called my attention was the third one: “To issue public statements in an objective and truthful manner.” At all times that they express themselves in technical reports, statements, or testimonies, they have to do it with full knowledge of the topic, based in factual information in a serious and measured tone.

While exploring the website of the ORI, I found the case of Matthew Poore a former technician at Liquid Logic Inc. He falsified data in a presentation and report. He changed the outcomes of HIV tests, manipulating graphs and testing samples. He entered into a voluntary settlement and will have for a period of three years to (1) have his research supervised and (2) to exclude himself from serving in any advisory capacity to the US Public Health Service.

I had a chemistry teacher in an undergraduate course that always said: “there is nothing under the sun that is not known sooner than later.” I find this to be extremely true. It is very tempting to take quick routes and inflate or exaggerate ones accomplishments. There are severe consequences when one does not follow the rules of their professional practices to live in a better society.


CIAPR (2015). “Manual of Practice and Guidelines for the Compensation of Professional Services.”, <> (May. 1, 2015).

ORI (2013). “Case Summary: Poore, Matthew.”, <> (May. 1, 2015).



A Look at an Open Access Journal in Civil Engineering

In this blog I will explore an open access journal in civil engineering. Open access journals, are journals that grant access to anyone with access to the internet without paying a subscription. Usually the author pays for the processing fees to publish the article and use the distribution network of the journal.

In this case, I will explore the Advances in Civil Engineering Journal (Hindawi, 2015). It is owned by the Hindawi Publishing Corporation that according to its website owns 437 peer reviewed journals. According to Wikipedia (2015) it was founded in 1997 in Cairo, Egypt and it is growing rapidly through acquisitions and launching of new journals. It mentions as its aim and scope “Advances in Civil Engineering is a peer-reviewed, open access journal that publishes original research articles as well as review articles in all areas of civil engineering.” They claim they have an acceptance rate of 17% and take 46 days from review to acceptance.

They explain opens access saying they charge the author, but it is usually paid by the author’s institution or grants they might have. In this particular journal they charge $600 and argue this is for the processing fees and will allow free access to anyone with access to the internet. In their publication ethics they have the sections that will be expected in any other journal; plagiarism, duplicate submissions, citation manipulation, improper author contribution, etc.

It is difficult to identify how it positions itself among other open access journals. It mentions it has over 580 reviewers and in its editorial board it has professors from internationals universities and several well recognized universities in the United States like Berkeley and Texas A&M.


Hindawi (2015). “Advances in Civil Engineering.”, <> (May. 4, 2015).

Wikipedia (2015). “Hindawi Publishing Corporation.”, <> (May. 4, 2015).

Comparison of two Mission Statements

For this blog I will explore the mission statements of two universities. First, the one from my alma mater; a land, sea, and space grant university located in the city of Mayagüez, Puerto Rico. The Second from a university I believe is one of the best in the world, a private research university in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Mayagüez campus of the University of Puerto Rico (UPRM):

Within the philosophical framework established by the University of Puerto Rico Act, the Mayagüez campus directs its efforts towards the development of educated, cultured citizens, capable of critical thinking, and professionally qualified in the fields of agricultural, social and natural sciences, engineering, humanities and business administration. They should be able to contribute in an efficient manner to the cultural, social, and economic development of the Puerto Rican and international communities. This process is aimed at endowing our alumni with a strong technical and professional background and instill a strong commitment to Puerto Rico and our hemisphere.

Our alumni should have the necessary skills and knowledge to participate effectively in the search of solutions to the problems facing us, to promote the enrichment of the arts and culture, the development and transfer of technology as well to uphold the essential attitudes and values of a democratic society.”

UPRM is a state university; as such it has in front and center Puerto Rico and the betterment of it. Although it mentions international communities, it emphasizes “our hemisphere” (western hemisphere). It seems to also seek a well-rounded citizen through the arts and culture together with a strong technical and professional background.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT):

“The mission of MIT is to advance knowledge and educate students in science, technology, and other areas of scholarship that will best serve the nation and the world in the 21st century.

The Institute is committed to generating, disseminating, and preserving knowledge, and to working with others to bring this knowledge to bear on the world’s great challenges. MIT is dedicated to providing its students with an education that combines rigorous academic study and the excitement of discovery with the support and intellectual stimulation of a diverse campus community. We seek to develop in each member of the MIT community the ability and passion to work wisely, creatively, and effectively for the betterment of humankind.”

MIT’s has a more global perspective seeking to serve the nation and the world. It emphasizes science and technology as the main goals to educate its students and how it plans to do this through rigorous academic study and the support and stimulation of its diverse campus.

Both mission statements are fairly similar; it is interesting to bring to perspective that MIT as its name says is an Institute of Technology tied to engineering and science. Although UPRM is the only engineering university inside the public university system of Puerto Rico it has three additional Colleges (Arts and Science, Business Administration, and Agriculture) in addition to the Engineering College. The engineering degrees in the UPRM are 5 year degrees in contrast to 4 year degrees in MIT. This could be due to the different goals stated in the mission statements, for example, in the UPRM students pursuing a civil engineering degree have to take five classes in humanities in addition to two English and two Spanish classes probably to fulfill the mission of the University of enriching its students with art and culture. Something that called my attention in the mission of UPRM is that it mentions upholding the “values of a democratic society” at the end, something that is not mentioned in MIT’s mission although they mention the “betterment of humankind.” Something that not necessarily has to imply values of a democratic society one could argue.

We can interpret from both mission statements that both universities seek to prepare students to tackle the problems society is facing and seeks to achieve this by instilling a research focused mindset that will allow the development of technology.