Framework to Address Ethical Issues in Multiple-Authored and Mentor-Supervised Engineering Publications


This paper proposes a three-fold ethical framework for evaluating and analyzing the ethical norms for authorship status. This paper explore: (1) the ethical issues related to publication, authorship, and mentoring with the goal of better defining co-authorship standards as well as encouraging research ethics discussion and education within the academic civil engineering research community, and (2) examines the current factors affecting the academic research environment and describe some of the unspoken but ethically questionable practices in the academic community. Graduate students, junior and tenured faculty, technicians and administrators, and field practitioners in the engineering research community need to address the evolving ethical issues in multiple-authored and mentor-supervised publications. Most tangible rewards are based on a faculty member's or researcher's publication record and the resulting increasing pressure to produce publications earlier and more often in the academic's career exacerbate the problem of a lack of clarity in ethical standards for multi-authored publications. The timing and frequency standards associated with publications for tenure and promotion and continuing research funding opportunities result in academics' maximization of the number of research efforts taken to publication with the number of authors per scientific publication steadily increasing. Further, as the number of authors has increased, the level of contribution of each co-author to the research project and publication decreases. It is the authors' hope that their thought-paper stirs the waters of this important issue to maintain the solidarity and integrity of engineering research activities and publications.

Meeting Name

119th ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition (2012: Jun. 10-13, San Antonio, TX)


Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering

Keywords and Phrases

Engineering Ethics; Professional Issues in Ethics Education

International Standard Book Number (ISBN)


International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)


Document Type

Article - Conference proceedings

Document Version


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© 2012 American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE), All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Jun 2012

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