Shared Interest/Responsibility - Case F3
Dr. Martha Shelby, a faculty member at Harrington University School
of Medicine, was asked by the editor of a journal specializing in
pediatrics research to review a paper on a new drug treatment for
childhood leukemia. The paper was submitted by Dr. Stewart Crain, a
pediatric oncologist at Cruxton Medical Center and a former colleague
of hers when both were on faculty at Chandler Medical School.
In reviewing the manuscript, Dr. Shelby was struck by certain
language in the introductory section that had a very familiar, yet
not immediately recognizable, ring to it. After finishing the paper,
which she found reasonably well prepared, she continued to experience
a nagging feeling over the language that seemed to echo something she
had read before.
Upon further contemplation, Dr. Shelby recollected a thesis
prepared several years ago by an M.D./Ph.D. student at Chandler who
worked under Dr. Crain's tutelage. She had reviewed the paper as a
member of the thesis committee. By calling the medical library, Dr.
Shelby was able to obtain a copy of the thesis and realized that Dr.
Crain' s introduction incorporated nearly word-for-word the history
of therapeutic advances in leukemia described by the student. She
considered calling Dr. Crain about the problem, but dreaded the idea
of a direct confrontation. She was then on the verge of calling Dr.
William Sachs, the head of the oncology department at Cruxton, when
she realized that Dr. Sachs was a coauthor on the paper. She feared
that Dr. Sachs might not take her complaint to heart.
- What are Dr. Shelby's obligations as a reviewer in this
- Given the various individuals and institutions that might have
an interest in this incident, to whom might Dr. Shelby report the
apparent plagiarism? Is there any institution to which, or person
to whom, she has an obligation to report this finding?
- Assume Dr. Shelby relays her concerns to Dr. Sachs. What
responsibilities does Dr. Sachs have as coauthor on the paper and
as Dr. Crain' s boss, once he becomes aware of Dr. Shelby's
- Assume Dr. Sachs is unresponsive. What should Dr. Shelby do
- If made aware of the allegation, what are the responsibilities
in responding to the possibility of plagiarism?
- the pediatrics research journal editor ,
- Cruxton Medical Center,
- Harrington University School of Medicine, and
- Chandler Medical School,
- Assume that the former M.D./Ph.D. student at Chandler Medical
School discovered the plagiarism, not Dr. Shelby. As the original
author of the plagiarized material, would the appropriate response
for the former student be any different?