Today I underwent more ethics training, and I fear that it was as irrelevant as all the other ethics workshops I have attended. At some point, one of the other trainees asked "Is there a point to this workshop?" and the person leading the workshop replied "Not really. We just have to do this. Be sure to sign the list so you get credit." Is that ethical?
Some of the workshop participants seemed to confuse ethical issues with issues of good vs. bad practices in science. Some people like to tell their own strange anecdotes that illuminate nothing (perhaps they should start blogs). Some people just like to disagree with whatever else is being said. It was a long afternoon.
The only time the workshop participants (including me) showed any signs of life was during a discussion of advisor-student issues re. publications. Someone told a supposedly shocking anecdote about an advisor who thought his students should be motivated to publish by the advisor's imminent tenure review. The workshop divided up into camps over that.
One faction's philosophy was: when you're in a research group, everything is interconnected. If someone isn't being productive, it affects everyone. If you're supported on a grant, you have to produce something or it affects the group's ability to get more grants.
Another faction thought that the advisor was selfish to focus on his tenure situation and maybe the students weren't ready to publish their results yet. It's hard to say without more information about that specific situation, but in general I relate more to research-group-as-interconnected-community point of view.
3 days ago