Category Archives: GRAD5014: Ethics & Scholarly Integrity

GRAD5014: Week 15: Reflection on Final Project

For the final project, I want to discuss about the  authorship issues. I want to explore the following questions:  a) What are the students’ experiences of authorship issues? b) What are the potential reasons that causing problems? c) How authorship issues be addressed in the higher education?

The purpose of my final project is to explore the process of determining authorship credit and authorship order on research collaborations; to explore graduate students’ experiences of determining authorship credit and authorship order; and to discuss the potential reasons that lead to the issues and what need to be done to avoid this issue.

In order to answer these questions, I searched and conducted a literature review about determine credit and authorship orders on research collaboration.  Peer-reviewed articles published after 2000 are included, and I identified about 30 articles. I briefly reviewed all the articles and then I did four face-to-face interview with graduate students, as this is project is for class-use only, not for publication, I didn’t record and transcript the interview, I just wrote down their answers, and summarized their stories.

The interview questions are as follows:  1) Have you experienced any authorship related issues before? Could you tell me more about it? 2) What do you think are the potential reasons for this? 3) What do you think will be helpful for you to learn more about authorship issues?

Based on their answers, I analyzed three cases and then made the following recommendations:

  • To be included as an author, a student should make a professional contribution that is creative and intellectual in nature.
  • Authorship decision should be based on the scholarly importance of the professional contribution and not just the time and effort made or whether they were paid.
  • Agreements regarding authorship should be made early in the collaboration process.
  • Every student should take GRAD5014: Ethics and Scholarly Integrity class!  🙂

I look forward to our final class presentation, so I can get some constructive feedback from other students in our class! 

GRAD 5014: Week 12: Ethics Project

For the final project, I want to do a presentation about authorship issues. The reason why I choose this topic is because I think it is a very important topic in academic integrity, and also because of my experiences.

I have made two mistakes about the authorship issue, and many of my friends have experienced similar situations, and they are confused about it too. As I have talked about before, when the deadline for a conference is coming, I told one professor that I didn’t have any ideas about what to submit for the conference, she helped me identified a previous study of mine and helped me edited the abstract, so I add her as an coauthor because I thought she helped me a lot, but she was not happy about me adding her as coauthor without asking her. I was surprised by this, so for my other project, I didn’t add the person who worked with me as coauthor, because I thought this was also my previous project, and she did the similar contribution as the other professor did. It turned out that she was unhappy about not adding her as coauthor. That was my first time submitting abstracts to conferences, and obvious the experiences were very unpleasant. After that I talked with my advisor about this, and she told me not to worry and try to learn from this experiences.

Interestingly, one of my friend who is also a PhD student was also bothered and confused about the authorship issues. Her paper was admitted by a top conference in her field, and her advisor organized practicing time for all the students who were attending the conference, while she was practicing presenting her paper, another student kept asking demanding questions and she was so confused about that student’s behavior, after the practice session, that student complained that she was not added as a coauthor because she also contributed to the study. My friend was also very frustrated about this situation.

I think these situations happen very often, especially among international students, so I decide to explore more about authorship issues in difference field, and work on this as my final project for this class.



Week 11: Ethics and Personal Ethos

 We learned about ethics and personal ethos this week, and I find it very helpful as the class I am TA for (Principles of Human Services) also talks about professional ethics this week.

Our own personal ethics often come from religion, family traditions, education and social environment. Different people have different personal ethics and values. I never thought about or summarize my own beliefs or values before this week’s class, but after reading the articles for this week, I summarized some of my beliefs and values and my personal code of conducts and I find the article in Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy is very helpful .

In terms of personal benefit and social benefit, I believe that whether a person has made contributions to the society is a way of measuring the values of an individuals’ deeds and social benefit is more important than personal benefit.  I am sure that many people will not agree with me in this belief, but I think this comes from my early education in China, where we were taught to value county and the whole society more than our personal gains. 

For principle of benevolence, I believe that we should always help those in need and help others in pursuing their best interests when they cannot do so themselves. I think this value or believe that I hold really impact my decisions in life, and it is the reason why I transfer from public administration to study social work and gerontology. I want to help those in need, and improve the quality of life of older adults, especially older adults with dementia. I also believe that we should be honest and never harm others,  do not violate the law and acknowledge a person’s freedom and a person’s rights. These believes come from both of my education and also my personal experiences from my family. As I am in the field of aging, and do research work with the older adults with dementia, I really value their right to maintain self-autonomy and abilities to make decisions. 

I also learned that personal ethics differs from professional ethics, we are free to make choices for our own based on our personal ethics, but in the professional field, we should always follow the professional ethics and when it contradicts with our own ethics, we should always follow the professional codes.  Each major human services profession has it’s own code of ethics, and these codes are usually adapted into law by the states, with legal sanctions and penalties for violating them. Professional codes usually cover client rights, client protections, professional behavior, and professional relationships.  We should always treat clients with respect and dignity to build on client strength, and we should never have discrimination against anybody.



Week 10-The State of Higher Education Today

I really like the videos I watched this week. I have watched “a vision of student today” when I was in my undergraduate school while I was in Beijing, China. The instructor was from Chicago, and he showed us this video, and I was surprised by the education in U.S., as it was so different from what I thought the higher education in U.S. was.  After watching this video again today, I was not as surprised as the first time I saw it, on the other hand, I was kinda of agree with some of their statements.

The film “Declining by Degree: Higher Education at risk” is really eye-opening to me, I am so surprised to know how difficult it could be for many American students to go through undergraduate study, some of them have to work more than 40 hours per week in order to pay for tuition. Besides feeling surprised, I also feel lucky as well as a little guilty about myself, especially after seeing those young students who work very hard to pay for their own tuition. My parents paid all the cost for my undergraduate study in Beijing, and graduate study in WU, St. Louis, and I took it for granted that it’s their responsibility to support me, while I learned that it’s not the case in American culture, I don’t have any student loan or any financial stress during my education, but now I feel I should be grateful for my parents’ support, and the opportunity to pursue PhD degree.

I also learned about the differences between private school and public school in U.S. from the film, and also from my own experiences in Washington University in St. Louis and Virginia Tech. I find that what is reflected in the film is so true. The students in private school have smaller classes, and more resources, however, the education in private school tend to be commercialized.  The students are like the customers, and universities are like selling the degrees as products, so to make profit. While in public universities, due to limited funding and resources, and huge number of students, each student have limited access to communicate with the instructor, and get advices from the advisors.  As almost all the universities in China are public universities, so the disadvantages of public universities are similar there in China.  In addition, I think it’s also true in China that the teachers are evaluated more by research than by teaching, which really need to be improved.
I think the higher education in U.S. and in China all need improvement, and it need the joint effort from the students and their parents, the instructors, and the policy makers, and I have confidence that the situation can be improved if more people are willing to make efforts to change the current situation.


GRAD5104: Discovery and Learn–Discussion about Open Access

This week is the Open Access Week, I attended the Keynote event tonight and it was eye-opening. I learned that Open Access is “a movement to provide public access to scholarship such as peer reviewed journal articles and enable its reuse through alternative licensing”. It is a process of article archiving and publishing in open access journals.

The keynote speaker, professor Brian Nosek from University of Virginia talked about improving the openness and reproducibility of research through their organization.  I think they have very high and ideal goals and missions to achieve. However, I think it will be a great way to encourage scholars to improve openness and efficiency of their research.

I also watched the video “Everything is a Remix”, and I think it’s a great video, and I learned lots of history, music and movies, and also I learned about some famous singers and movie stars in the past. However, I can’t totally agree with the term “remix”, and I don’t really agree that everything is a remix. I remember one of the famous quotes said by Issac Newton is that “if I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants”, and I think that’s should be the real way of creating new knowledge or other intellectual works. We learn and summarize the knowledge and experiences from previous scholars and then we create new knowledge based on what we have known, it’s not just superficially remixing previous works. It should be original intellectual contribution. For instance, in the social science field, before we conduct research on any topic, we will do a comprehensive literature review first, so that we could build on the knowledge based on previous researchers, and I think this process must be true in other field of study as well.


Week 9: Disciplinary Codes of Conduct


I am in the field of Human Development, and major in Adult Development and Aging. As I got my Master in Social Work,  and I plan to get the license in social work, so I would like to talk about the codes of conduct in this field. I learned about  code of conduct or statements of professional ethics for social workers when I was in my first year of master’s program,  as it was a while ago, I searched the Code of Ethics of the National Association of Social Workers again from the NASW website.  The Code of Ethics was approved by the 1996 NASW Delegate Assembly and revised in the 2008.

The core values of social work profession include: service, social justice, dignity and worth of the person, importance of human relationships, integrity and competence.  I have better understanding of these core values through my practicums and field study experiences in the National Multiple Sclerosis Society in St. Louis and also while I work as a social work student in an assisted living facility for older adults with dementia. The values that I have a deeper understandings are social justice and dignity and worth of the person.

While I work with MS Society, I learned that social workers pursue social change, and challenge social injustice. Social workers are on behalf of vulnerable and oppressed individuals and groups of people, like people with Multiple Sclerosis, which is a neuron disease that affect people’s auto, language and other functions. Social workers’ social change efforts are focused on issues of poverty, unemployment, discrimination, and other forms of social injustice and we provide  access to needed information, services, and resources for people with MS and their families.

As I am in the research field in aging, and I focus on older adults with dementia, I understand and respect the value of dignity and worth of the person. When people have dementia, they will have memory loss and they might be treated differently, but social workers treat each person in a caring and respectful way, and mindful of individual differences and diversity. Social workers advocate for person centered care instead of medical centered care, and we believe that older adults with dementia still have their dignity and we should respect their willings and help them function to the highest possibility.

GRAD5014: Week 10: Copyright Issues

This week we learned about copyright issues.  As the  The Chronicle mentioned, I have not paid enough attention to copyright issues, and I don’t think I have experienced it before. One thing the article The Chronicle raised that  I never thought about is the ownership of copyright, as I thought I didn’t own any copyrights before I read this article, but now I should really think again. As we work in the field of research, and publications are a major part of our work, we should know more about the copyright ownership, and also know our rights and how to negotiate about our rights.

I also have never  used Creative Commons before, and I think it’s a great idea and resources for everyone. I used to only rely on google and other search tools to find images and music for my work, but now I know there are more other resources available.

I feel it would be great to make my own work freely available to others,  I would like to share my work results and products with others as long as they use them for non-profit purpose. For instance, for educating students, or helping people in need, as I am in the field of gerontology and my research interest is about dementia care, I am very glad to share my knowledge and my research findings with my students, people with dementia, and their caregivers. I think”open source” options as opposed to copyrighted options are more useful and helpful both in helping others and moving human knowledge and technology forward. I think this also depends on the various research field, I think it might not be the same for people who are in the technology or engineering field, as the technology develops fast, and often the research findings are converted to profitable products.

GRAD 5014 Week 9: Authorship Issues


We learned about authorship issues this week.  The news about “Who Actually Owns That DeGeneres “Selfie”” is really interesting. I never thought about authorship of selfie photos before, as they are so common in our lives, but one thing I learned is that authorship issue is very serious and shouldn’t be ignored anytime.  The video clip of Big Bang Theory also indicated this issue.

The following are my opinions of the questions:  1) What does it mean to be an author? Who should count? I think Individuals who supply the funding shouldn’t be automatically counted as authors if they haven’t made intellectual contributions to the research, it is the same for individuals who supply the laboratory space, Individuals who supply the patients. For Individuals who analyze the samples, statistically evaluate the data, type the paper, if they have made significant contributions to the research design, findings, analysis, then they should be listed as authors. I think it might not be necessary for an author to participate in the writing of the paper or checking the manuscript, but the author should make sure that the ideas expressed in the paper match his/her ideas.

As Jason W. Osborne and Abigail Holland (2009) indicated in the research about authorship, it is only relatively recently that ethical and authorship issues has arisen, as most scientific writing was solely authored  before the mid 20th century.  Higher education has surely add complex to this issue. I am in the field of social science, and most of work follow APA style, and I learned the norms of my discipline for authorship from taking writing classes and also by working with professors in my field.  I encountered some issues of authorship before, as I discussed in my former postings, and I think I will pay more attention to this issue in the future.

GRAD 5014: Week 6 Citation Methods


I learned about citation methods from this week’s study. I think it’s very helpful, especially for writing research papers, the links provided in this module are very useful and they are great resources.

I am in the social science field, and we used APA style most of the time for assignments or research papers. I like the citation game and I got all 100% correct for APA as I am very familiar with it.  I first learned APA style while I was in Brown School of Social Work, Washington University in St. Louis. I have a deep impression about how I learned APA style as I had a great mentor. It was a very nice memory.

The first class assignment I wrote in U.S. university was the literature review paper for my Research Methods class that taught by Dr. Nancy Morrow-Howell. At that time, I didn’t know much about APA and I wrote the paper following the writing styles in China, and I didn’t cite properly either. It was the first few weeks in school, I also didn’t have the sense of using writing center or any other resources. After submitting the paper, Dr. Morrow-Howell emailed me and she said she would like to meet with me about my paper. During the meeting, she said she could see how hard I had worked on this paper, and she also explained to me about APA, citation, and how to summarize. She also helped me set up two more meetings with the instructor in the Brown School Writing Center, during the meeting, she explained to her about my issues and the instructor in the writing center offered me resources of APA styles and other writing techniques.

Dr. Morrow-Howell was very patient, and she let me rewrite that paper and she said the reason why she did all these was because she knew that was my first assignment, and she didn’t want me to make similar mistakes in my future writing assignments. I got 85 for that assignment in the end, even though the grade was not great, but both Dr. Morrow-Howell and me were pleased with it, as we all see my improvement along the way.  I really appreciate Dr. Morrow-Howell’s time and effort in helping me, and after that, I paid more attention to citations and writing, and I also feel that I want to become a professor like her in the future.


GRAD 5014 Week 5: The VT Graduate Honor System, Part II

Integrity 2_0

In this week’s class, we continued talking about Graduate Honor System. I like all the videos and readings in this week’s study.  The interactive movie “The lab” is really impressing and useful and I learned a lot. The following is my experiences working through the interactive movie, “The Lab.”

As a graduate student, I played the graduate student Kim Park first, and I can see how the challenges that she faced are similar to mine if I encounter the similar situation. For instance, the pressure from colleagues, the PI professor, and also the high expectation from her parents, it’s a blessing that her parents are so supportive, otherwise, it would be a worse situation.  I choose all the right actions, and in the end, she becomes a hero to save the lab, and the reputation of the university.  However, during the process, she is under great pressure, like being isolated, and mistreated in her lab, that she has to change lab and her graduation date will be delayed for a year. It is unfortunate for her, but I think she made the right choice, and she has an experience with science misconduct which will be helpful in her future research life.

I also really like the video on the motivations for why students cheat and plagiarize.  In this video, he first introduced the types of problems of cheating and plagiarize. From the Learning perspective, it will decrease academic engagement and achievement. From the  assessment perspective, it will undermines the validity of test results and grades, and from developmental perspective, it will compromise the development of moral character.

I agree with the the opinion of Intrinsic and extrinsic motivations. It also reminded me my education experiences when I was younger, especially before college as it was mostly performance goal orientated. The teachers, administrators and parents emphasize too much on tests and grades, and the students were under great pressure. As a doctoral student now, I think I won’t want my students have the similar experiences that I had earlier.

I also agree with the model of achieving with integrity. The core values are respect, trust, honesty, responsibility, effort, and the curriculum and instruction should be material oriented, teaching and learning, pedagogical, caring and fairness. In addition,  of students, teachers, administrators and parents have shared responsibility in building a community with academic integrity.