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Lycoming College’s “Plagiarism Game” receives a one-up through new coding – Norhcentral PA (NCPA Staff | November 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on December 8, 2019
 

“It is a quiet day at Lycoming… when suddenly the campus is taken over by Plagiarism goblins who want to destroy its academic integrity! You are the only person left who can destroy the goblins and restore order to the College!”

Games can be a great complement to exposition in workshops and a fun way for participants to apply what they have learned.  As an avid fantasy roleplayer at high school in the UK and at university in Australia, Gary got especially enthused about this game.

So begins “Goblin Threat,” also known throughout the Lycoming College campus as the Plagiarism Game. Created more than 10 years ago by Mary Broussard, professor and instructional services librarian and coordinator of reference and web services at Lycoming College’s Snowden Library, the game has steadily risen in popularity, receiving more than 200,000 page views in 2018, according to Google Analytics.
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The game revolves around the player traveling through Lycoming College and defeating “plagiarism goblins” by correctly answering questions about plagiarism. Broussard always had an interest in game-based learning, so she applied that interest toward making both an informative and entertaining game. “The point was to make it more enjoyable than a straightforward tutorial on plagiarism,” she said.
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Access the game – https://www.lycoming.edu/library/plagiarism-game/

Value pluralism in research integrity (Papers: Rik Peels, et al | August 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on November 30, 2019
 

Abstract
Both scientists and society at large have rightfully become increasingly concerned about research integrity in recent decades. In response, codes of conduct for research have been developed and elaborated. We show that these codes contain substantial pluralism. First, there is metaphysical pluralism in that codes include values, norms, and virtues. Second, there is axiological pluralism, because there are different categories of values, norms, and virtues: epistemic, moral, professional, social, and legal. Within and between these different categories, norms can be incommensurable or incompatible. Codes of conduct typically do not specify how to handle situations where different norms pull in different directions. We review some attempts to develop an ordering of different sorts of norm violations based on a common measure for their seriousness. We argue that they all fail to give adequate guidance for resolving cases of incommensurable and conflicting norms. We conclude that value pluralism is inherent to codes of conduct in research integrity. The application of codes needs careful reasoning and judgment together with an intellectually humble attitude that acknowledges the inevitability of value pluralism.

Peels, R., Ridder, J., Haven, T. & Bouter, L. (2019) Value pluralism in research integrity. Research Integrity and Peer Review 4, 18 doi:10.1186/s41073-019-0076-4
Publisher (Open Access): https://researchintegrityjournal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s41073-019-0076-4

Contract cheating will erode trust in science – Nature (Tracey Bretag | October 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on November 13, 2019
 

To combat academic dishonesty, focus on educational systems and not just individual offenders, says Tracey Bretag.

Stories of students paying others to do their work come from all around the world. In the 2015 MyMaster scandal in Australia, hundreds of students who were enrolled in more than a dozen universities paid a total of at least Aus$160,000 (US$108,000) to a ‘service’ that provided ghost-written essays and responses to online tests. In 2018, YouTube stars on more than 250 channels received money for promoting a cheating service called EduBirdie. Similar companies have been uncovered in the United States and elsewhere. Scientists should not deceive themselves: they are not immune.

Part of a series that we call “KPI=Key Perverse Incentives”. Our current system aids and abets the worst behaviour rather than promoting scholarship for improving the world.

Academics call this ‘contract cheating’. My colleagues and I have assembled what is, to our knowledge, the largest data set on the topic — with responses from some 14,000 students and 1,000 teachers across 8 Australian universities. We found that roughly 6% of students have engaged in the practice; that most who cheat do so more than once; and that both post- and undergraduate students engage in it. Cheating is not new, but the proliferation of commercial, online services in the past 5–10 years has made it easier than ever.
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And cheating is becoming increasingly normal. Since the 1990s, universities around the world have reimagined themselves as commercial enterprises that promote educational ‘products’ to student ‘consumers’. In 2017, a commentator likened the brash marketing strategies of some UK universities to the advertising of shampoo, and hundreds of academic papers have openly criticized the ‘marketization’ of higher education. It’s no wonder students opt to take the most convenient route to an academic credential — just as they would shop around for any other deal. In our survey, more than one-third of teachers specifically blamed contract cheating on the commercialization of higher education.
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Highlight negative results to improve science – Nature (Devang Mehta | October 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on November 10, 2019
 

Publishers, reviewers and other members of the scientific community must fight science’s preference for positive results — for the benefit of all, says Devang Mehta.

Near the end of April, my colleagues and I published an unusual scientific paper — one reporting a failed experiment — in Genome Biology. Publishing my work in a well-regarded peer-reviewed journal should’ve been a joyous, celebratory event for a newly minted PhD holder like me. Instead, trying to navigate through three other journals and countless revisions before finding it a home at Genome Biology has revealed to me one of the worst aspects of science today: its toxic definitions of ‘success’.

Our work started as an attempt to use the much-hyped CRISPR gene-editing tool to make cassava (Manihot esculenta) resistant to an incredibly damaging viral disease, cassava mosaic disease. (Cassava is a tropical root crop that is a staple food for almost one billion people.) However, despite previous reports that CRISPR could provide viral immunity to plants by disrupting viral DNA, our experiments consistently showed the opposite result.

In fact, our paper also showed that using CRISPR as an ‘immune system’ in plants probably led to the evolution of viruses that were more resistant to CRISPR. And although this result was scientifically interesting, it wasn’t the ‘positive’ result that applied scientists like me are taught to value. I had set off on my PhD trying to engineer plants to be resistant to viral diseases, and instead, four years later, I had good news for only the virus.

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