Moreover, a discussion of authorship issues with a committee or a consultant could facilitate a reciprocal understanding with involved parties and avoid escalating the situation and creating an uncomfortable environment.
Decisions made by expert panels may be given extra weight because they are generally accepted by the academic community. Addressing research ethics issues by peer-based mechanisms will uphold scientific autonomy, be more cost-effective, and likely resolve issues in a peaceful way thereby creating a more harmonious atmosphere.
Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) mechanisms
It is quite unlikely that arbitration to resolve authorship feuds will be entertained by most academic researchers who tend to gravitate away from legalistic procedures. Authorship issues can arise for many reasons, but cultivating a respectful team environment is likely to lead to a healthier environment and more productive research [ 16 ].
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Recognizing the human dimensions of authorship and publication ethics can best be facilitated through scientific peers well versed in authorship ethics and the culture of research. Research communities currently have few mechanisms to address authorship disputes, leading to the question of whether alternative dispute resolution could be used to resolve such disputes. Master and Tenenbaum critique one form of alternative dispute resolution arbitration and propose a peer review model of dispute resolution. Their comments highlight that dispute resolution can take many forms other than arbitration and that research communities might profitably use a diverse set of methods to help resolve authorship disputes.
This creates an ethical imperative for research communities to adopt some form of dispute resolution, of which there are several models.
Frank’s views on the state of ADR ~ 2014
Master and Tenenbaum above examine the possible complications of using arbitration to resolve authorship disputes and suggest a peer review model of dispute resolution instead. Arbitration is not the only form of alternative dispute resolution [ 17 ] that is discussed in the original article [ 1 ]. Some points raised by Master and Tenenbaum would not apply to all forms of alternative dispute resolution. For example, whether there is an appeals process is more relevant to arbitration than it is to mediation.
Concerns about arbitration specifically should not rule out considering how other forms of alternative dispute resolution might be used to resolve authorship disputes. Master and Tenenbaum above are concerned about the financial costs of arbitration, particularly if administered through journals [ 1 ]. The financial costs of alternative dispute resolution would be immediate, direct, and possibly substantial, and any financial benefits would be delayed, indirect, and possibly small.
There is no accounting for the cost of lost opportunities or the benefits of having high ethical standards. Accountants might view quality assurance on airplanes as a sunk cost that cannot be recovered by the sale of the plane, but catastrophic failures e. Moreover, absolute costs need to be considered within a larger context of budgets. Some academic publishers are non-profit or simply small, and the relative cost of arbitration may be prohibitive. But many academic publishers are highly profitable [ 18 , 19 ], and the relative cost of arbitration may be minimal and completely feasible for them.
Their responsibility includes many ethical issues, including authorship disputes. This suggests that journals see value in maintaining high ethical standards and is consistent with the suggestion in the original article that journals be involved with dispute resolution [ 1 ].
Master and Tenenbaum above mention that arbitration rarely permits appeals. The pros of appeals are that they allow revisiting unfair decisions, but the cons are that they can add time, cost, and complexity to resolving disputes. In courts, appeal processes tend to favor individuals with the most power [ 21 ], which is an important consideration given that authorship disputes can involve deep power differences [ 1 ]. As with any initial proposal, there are unanswered questions about how such a model would be implemented e.
Their peer review model provides another useful option for authors, editors, and others involved in scientific publishing to consider. Just as there is diversity in scientific publishing practices, there is room for research communities to adopt a pluralistic approach to dispute resolution. Importantly, both Master and Tannebaum and I seem to agree that the status quo on authorship disputes is problematic and that research communities should not walk away from disputes.
We are grateful for the comments and feedback of both reviewers of this manuscript. The funder has no role in any part of this research. ZM and ET have both made substantial contributions to the conception of the research.
ZM wrote the initial draft, and both ZM and ET substantially revised the manuscript for important intellectual content. Both authors approve the final submitted version and agree to be accountable for their contributions. Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations. Zubin Master, Email: ude. Evelyn Tenenbaum, Email: ude. National Center for Biotechnology Information , U. Res Integr Peer Rev. Published online May Zubin Master 1 and Evelyn Tenenbaum 2, 3. Author information Article notes Copyright and License information Disclaimer.
Received Jan 14; Accepted May 5. Abstract A recent commentary argued for arbitration to resolve authorship disputes within academic research settings explaining that current mechanisms to resolve conflicts result in unclear outcomes and institutional power vested in senior investigators could compromise fairness. Keywords: Authorship, Authorship disagreement, Arbitration, Peer review, Research ethics consultation. Background Zen Faulkes wrote a provocative piece outlining that arbitration may be a suitable mechanism to resolve disputes among researchers employed in academia who cannot work out their differences over authorship [ 1 ].
Main text The limits of arbitration It is well understood that arbitration is usually cheaper and faster than litigation, but arbitration can have significant costs. A more plausible solution As Faulkes compares arbitration to research ethics consultation services and peer review committees, why not just have these processes help resolve authorship conflicts.
Conclusions Addressing research ethics issues by peer-based mechanisms will uphold scientific autonomy, be more cost-effective, and likely resolve issues in a peaceful way thereby creating a more harmonious atmosphere. Conclusions Just as there is diversity in scientific publishing practices, there is room for research communities to adopt a pluralistic approach to dispute resolution.
Availability of data and materials Not applicable. Ethics approval and consent to participate Not applicable. Consent for publication Not applicable. Competing interests The authors declare that they have no competing interests. Contributor Information Zubin Master, Email: ude. References 1. Faulkes Z. Resolving authorship disputes by mediation and arbitration. Charrow RP. Lawless in the laboratory ;7 9 — American Arbitration Association.
Consumer arbitration rules costs of arbitration. International Centre for Dispute Resolution. International arbitration fee schedule. Strengthening arbitration by facing its challenges. Quinnipiac L Rev.
Role of Alternative Dispute Resolution Methods in Development of Society: `Lok Adalat ’ in India
Farmer MB. Mandatory and fair? A better system of mandatory arbitration. Yale LJ. Palmer, and J. Developing a research ethics consultation service to foster responsive and responsible clinical research.
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Acad Med ;82 9 — Expanding the scope of research ethics consultation services in safeguarding research integrity: moving beyond the ethics of human subjects research. Am J Bioeth.
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