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Chapter 12:
The Ethics of Scientific Publication

As mentioned many times throughout this book, the main ethos of paper writing in science is to make the paper reader-centric, not author-centric. But readers can be thought of as a proxy for science as a whole, so that making a paper reader-centric is equivalent to putting the advancement of science first. The goal is to advance science by writing a paper that adds novel scientific content to the existing communal collection of scientific knowledge. Almost all of the advice found in this book supports that goal.

There can be other goals in science writing, self-interested goals that benefit the author (see Chapter 1). There is nothing fundamentally wrong with self-interest, unless these additional goals come in conflict with the main goal of scientific advancement. Unfortunately, they sometimes do. As a result, it is wise for authors to always keep their ethical responsibilities in mind throughput the process of researching, writing, and publishing. If the advancement of science always remains as each author’s primary goal, conflicts will usually work themselves out.

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