Regular visitors will have noticed this site has been rather quiet for a long time – since late last year. This has been due to extreme workloads as I’ve been trying to complete several projects under conditions of significant duress. The cause of this duress has been people who sign contracts, then refuse to honour them. I got through it with much appreciated help from a few colleagues, who basically saved my arse – resigning was on the cards because I could not fulfill my obligations, having been let down by a number of people who failed to fulfill their commitments. Note: this has occurred across several projects in recent times, both in Australia and internationally.
This comes back to a broader problem of ethics in research, which I will write about in more detail at some stage. Suffice to say, I will not be entering any research projects based on trust in future, and will require people to sign codes of conduct that commit them to act ethically; shared ethics in research apparently being a thing of the past.
Given the pressure on universities to obtain funds, it seems as if the central goal of many researchers is on receiving grants but not doing the work that entails. With the “efficiency dividends” now placing further pressure on both teaching and research in universities, it’s likely this situation will not improve in future. All universities have codes of conduct, but many young researchers seem to be unaware of them and some older researchers flout them shamelessly. They are mostly not enforced at the institutional level.
A further problem that has been brought to my attention via email, is where researchers take ideas and IP generally from people in practice and industry and publish them without acknowledgement. This is doing a great deal of damage to the academic research sector.
Readers who have been similarly affected are welcome to post their experiences in comments, but please be aware of libel laws in doing so. I’ll be working closely with a few people in an informal group of researchers and practitioners, started by a colleague, who agree to work collaboratively with each other, respect each others’ ideas and IP, openly embracing a broad ethical agenda. Email me if you’re interested – you know where to find me. There are one or two entire institutions I’m shy of due to repeat offences, so if I’m reluctant to engage, it might not be personal.
Edited 3:20 pm 27-05-2013