Accepted paper:

Research integrity as translation work: assumptions and practices of authorship in nutrition science


Bart Penders (Maastricht University)

Paper short abstract:

Codes of conduct and research integrity guidelines harbour many assumptions on research practice. This paper focusses on assumptions in authorship criteria in nutrition science. It studies the organisation of research and asks whether assumptions fit the plural practices of nutrition science.

Paper long abstract:

Research integrity can be conceived as a series of prescriptions governing the conduct of scientists. Prescriptions on how to behave as a scientist in order to uphold research integrity contain assumptions on how that practice is organised, how responsibility and power in that practice is distributed and on evaluations of worth as they exist in research. This is especially clear in the context of data and authorship, where strict rule-based behaviours are assuming an academic context. This context exhibits a very specific distributions of tasks, responsibilities and power.

This paper draws from a serious of interviews with Dutch nutrition scientists in academia and industry on authorship and asks whether and how the assumptions embodied in formal and informal authorship criteria fit the research practices in which they are employed. In doing so, it focusses on the organisation of work in general and task interdependence, research governance structures and valuation cultures in particular. The paper links literature on authorship and authorship criteria with that on the social organisation of research labour and collaboration. It aims to differentiate prescriptive and descriptive structures in research integrity through the example of authorship and argues that the organisation of work in commercial laboratories does not fit assumptions embedded in authorship criteria. The different organisation of work allows for alternative articulations of authorship, creative distributions of credibility and problematic distributions of responsibility.

panel G06
Integrity: personal virtue, remedy for fraud, object of governance?