As science evolves and violations of scientific research are ramping up across the board, ethics is increasingly being pushed to the back of the research and publication stage with a myriad of misconduct cases dealing with authorship criteria failure, ghost authorship, fabrication of data, or other issues, recorded on research ethics websites as well as in the media. As a result, there is due recognition that the overall integrity of scientific research practices and ethical principles are fundamentally flawed, and that the "trust" (Luhmann 1979) between researchers themselves and the larger society is ultimately compromised. In this context, one influential, ethicist approach (Steneck 2006) to research integrity and misconduct has focused on responsible conduct of research as a cover term for research ethics, meaning "research behaviour viewed from the perspective of moral principles”, such as those “associated with or that arise in the course of pursuing research", and research integrity, meaning "research behaviour viewed from the perspective of professional standards", such as those of "professional organisations" or "research institutions" (Steneck 2006: 56). The discourse surrounding scientific integrity and misconduct thus suggests that it is central to most accounts of “professionalism”, as “normative value system” or “ideology” (Evetts 2011) where professionals are governed by several defining aspects of a profession such as codes of ethics, collegial authority, identity, competence, trust and confidence within their expert domain. But the way ethical principles link with professional standards in social environments of research publishing also implies that there are other frameworks from which individual researchers and research institutions interact with each other and make choices. These interaction frameworks bring into focus responsibility/accountability for scientific misconduct, meaning that "[m]oral responsibility assumes a capacity for making rational decisions, which in turn justifies holding moral agents accountable for their actions" (Barrett 2004) and worthy of "blame" (Hieronymi 2004), as a result of their functional or "role-given responsibilities" (Barrett 2004). At its simplest, accountability here holds within a moral logic which inscribes autonomous practices of research within self-regulating decisions, and makes it appropriate for researchers or institutions to be responsible as well as accountable for the consequences of certain blameworthy actions. The upshot is that this ‘responsibility as accountability’ model bears significantly on the essential standards of professional integrity and fiduciary trust within the research community and society at large. However, "risk always involves the question of responsibility” (Beck 2000: 8) in social life in the same way as “risk is always discoursally and dialogically constructed” across diverse professional fields (Sarangi/Candlin 2003: 119). So, the discourse of scientific integrity and misconduct also provides the framework from which professional organisations think their way through the complex issues of accountability and blame for risky conduct and balance responsibilities between individual researchers and research institutions. In this presentation, I explore how research and publication ethics is constructed in a corpus of online cases created and maintained by the Committee on Publication Ethics as the largest ethics-related organisation in the world. I use a combined framework of methodological perspectives from rhetorical move structure analysis of genre theory (Bhatia 2004), evaluation (Hunston/Thompson 2000), and stance-taking (Biber et al. 1999; Hyland 2005) along with other approaches to language. The aim of these analytical approaches to discourse organisational structure of text and lexical/grammatical use is to unveil the "social effects of texts" (Fairclough 2003: 8) in the cases under scrutiny where "signs of social identities, institutions, and norms [...] are established, negotiated, enacted, and changed through communicative practice" (Bazerman/Prior 2004: 3). Linguistic and rhetorical choices made on discursive features of text reveal how cases set the tone for accountability and blame between the parties affected by competing professional values or interests in matters of research ethics, and how they allow the organisation to offer a professional voice in those matters through a balance-adjustment approach to accountabilities and blame. Attending to both linguistic and discursive features, the case genre authenticates the institutional identity and role of the organisation to create conditions for ethical principles and professional standards essential for a range of responsible practices of research, and re-aligns the professional and institutional actions of the organisation with social norms when legitimising its commitment to preserve the integrity principles and practices of the research record in this specialised form of communication over the Web.
|Titolo:||Coming to grips with cases of research and publication ethics: a linguistic and discursive analysis|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2018|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||2.3 Breve introduzione|