The culture of compliments: when flowcharts can't help
Over at the BMJ blogs, Behrooz Astaneh has written an interesting perspective on the "culture of compliments", which exists in many cultures. He notes that because of this culture "authors feel compelled to put the name of a senior colleague in the byline of their article even though the senior researcher did not contribute to it because they feel it would be rude not to. Or when a reviewer deliberately ignores some shortcomings in an article written by his/her previous professor." There is a clear lesson for organisations such as COPE, as he concludes that "this is an issue that cannot be resolved with guidelines or flowcharts, which are usually released by ethical watchdogs. It is time to consider this fact when we propose guidelines for suitable ethical behavior."