Seminar 2-E. Dyachuk, K. Haikonen, K. Kovi, L. Saarinen, L. Sjökvist Technology, research and ethics E. Dyachuk, K. Haikonen, K. Kovi, L. Saarinen, L. Sjökvist Division of Electricity Dept. of Engineering Sciences Uppsala University Sweden
An ethical problem in science • PhD student at a division where a ”renewable power plant” is being developed. • The student has written a paper about comparing geometrical parameters and their impact on power absorption. Total absorbed power is used for evaluation and the result is compared with experimental results from the full-scale prototype built at the division. • HOWEVER! The professor of the division, also the co-supervisor, says the student can’t publish the paper. The experimental output power is only about 10 % of the rated power. The professor says the power should be normalized.
An ethical problem in science • Normalizing in this case means that dividing with some quantity so that the result is shown in ”per unit” instead of kW • Normalizing in the way that is commonly done at this divison will hide the output power, but also the paramaters that were studied in the paper. The student did even put some effort into criticising the method of normalization in this paper.
Alternative solutions • Publish as per the true results of the student. • Normalize the results before publishing as per the supervisor. • A medium approach: Publish with a detailed discussion of results (including negative results if any)
Ethical problems or conflicts • Conflict with the supervisor. • Still not the actual result: Openness, values. • Reproducibility of results
An ethical problem in science • Who is affected?
Truth vs. loyality • Truth and transparency • To be loyal to what?