Case #1: Propose, conduct, and report research with integrity and honesty.

Della is a graduate assistant who is helping her research mentor write up the results of a study for a journal article.  In drafting the manuscript, the mentor tells Della to combine two images run on separate experiments under similar conditions into one image to best facilitate understanding of the central point of the paper.  As part of her graduate training, Della took a course that instructed on the proper publication of images, and she is hesitant to follow her mentor’s instruction because she does not want to misrepresent the experiments to the reader.

What should Della do?

  1. Follow the instruction without question.  Given his experience, her mentor has a better understanding of how the publication process works.
  2. Seek clarity from her mentor to ensure she understands his instructions and to inquire about whether combining the images could misrepresent the results.
  3. Inform him that she is no longer interested in drafting the manuscript.

B.   No matter the scope of work, UAB community members are expected to be honest in performing their duties.  With respect to research, this means proposing, conducting, and reporting research with integrity and honesty.  In this case, Della should seek clarity from her research mentor regarding the proper representation of the experiments’ results.  By discussing it further, she can ask questions, check her understanding, and get more information about his instructions.  It is possible that her concerns may be resolved.  If, after further discussion based on all information, Della believes that her mentor’s instructions do not allow her to truthfully report the findings of the current study, she may ask others for assistance, including another faculty member or the research integrity officer.