30 Years of agronomic research in Iran: II. Evaluation of research ethics

Document Type : Scientific - Research


Ferdowsi University of Mashhad


During the last three decades publication of papers in different fields of agronomic sciences have been increased drastically in Iran. However, there is growing warnings about research misconducts. To get a quantitative insight into the commitment to the research ethics, 1269 papers published during the last 3 decades in the refereed domestic journals were surveyed using human tools. The frequency of different type of misconducts were calculated and compared statistically. The results indicated that overlap in title, the target crop, experimental factors (treatments) and the measured traits was occurred with frequency of 26% among the surveyed papers which was categorized as unauthorized adoption of ideas. Falsification and fabrication was distinguished based on the coefficient of variation (CV), probability of type I error and discrepancy between the results of ANOVA and regression analysis. This type of misconducts had frequency of 6%. However, plagiarism had a significantly higher frequency and was detected in up to 12% of the papers. The frequency of all type of misconducts was significantly higher in the papers where the corresponding authors were students compared to the papers published by scientific staffs of universities/research institutes. Overall research misconducts were distinguished in 16% of papers and were most frequent in the 1380 decade compared to 60’s and 70’s. It seems that lack of awareness about the principles of research ethics is the main cause of the prevalence of the observed misconducts. Therefore, development of a national code of ethics is of high priority for the national agricultural research system in the country.


1. AAMC, Association of American Medical Colleges. 1998. Developing a code of ethics in research. A guide for scientific societies. Washington DC.
2. ABET, Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. 2006. Code of ethics of engineers. Chicago University Press.
3. Aceme, N. 2009. Professional ethics: An overview from health research ethics point of view. Acta Tropica 112: 84–90.
4. ACM, U.S. Association for Computing Machinery. 2003. ACM code of ethics and professional conduct. ACM, USA.
5. Alroe, H.F., and Kristensen, E.S. 2003. Toward a systemic ethic: In search of an ethical basis for sustainability and precaution. Environmental Ethics 25(1): 59-78.
6. Alroe, H.F., Byrne, J., and Glover, L. 2005. Organic agriculture and ecological justice: Ethics and practice. In: N. Halberg, H.F. Alrøe, M.T. Knudsen and E.S. Kristensen, (eds). Global Development of Organic Agriculture: Challenges and Promises. CAB International p. 75-112.
7. Bahadorinejad, M. 2006. Points in engineering ethics. Ethics in Science and Technology 1(1): 1-11. (In Persian)
8. Barden, L.M., Frase, P., and Kovac, J. 1997. Teaching scientific ethics. A case studies approach. The American Biology Teachers 59: 12-14.
9. Bohlouli, M. 2010. Ethic in science and technology. Science Cultivation Journal 1: 36-42. (In Persian)
10. Center for Study of Ethics in the Professions, CSEP. 2006. Perspectives on the profession. Chicago, Illinois Institute of Technology.
11. Faramarz Gharamaleki, A. 2004. Origin of research ethic. Mirror of Heritage 2(4): 7-17. (In Persian)
12. Farasatkhah, M. 2006. Scientific ethics is the key to improving higher education: position and mechanism of professional ethic for academic quality assurance in higher education. Ethics in Science and Technology 1(1): 13-27. (In Persian)
13. Gerllinde, S. 2000. Teaching scientific integrity and research ethics. Forensic Science International.
14. Horri, A. 2011. Ethic of Scientific Publications. Islamic World Science Citation Center (ISC), Iran 86 pp. (In Persian)
15. Khodaparast, A.H., Abdollah Zadeh, A., and Rasekh, M. 2007. Critical study of sextet guidline for ethic in Iran research. Journal of Reproduction and Infertility 3: 365-379. (In Persian)
16. Lashkar Bolouki, M. 2008. Developing a framework of values and professional ethic in scientific and technological researches. Ethics in Science and Technology 2(1&2): 105-114. (In Persian)
17. Lund, V. 2002. Ethics and animal welfare in organic animal husbandry: An interdisciplinary approach, Acta Universitatis Agriculturae Suecia, Veterinaria 137, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences.
18. Mahmoudi, A. 2007. Philosophical perspective on research ethic. Islamic University 11(4): 129-148.
19. Mead, R., Curnow, R.N., and Hasted, A.M. 2003. Statistical Methods in Agriculture and Experimental Biology (3rd Ed.). Chapman and Hall/CRC.
20. Motahhari, M. 1997. Philosophy of Ethic. Mollasadra Publication, Tehran, Iran. (In Persian)
21. Mousavi Doust, S., and Fonoudi, H. 2010. Infringements and scientific and and literary plagiarisms. Science Cultivation Journal 1(2): 21-29. (In Persian)
22. Nassiri Mahallati, M., Koocheki, A., Ghorbani, R., and Khoramdel, S. 2012. 30 Years of agronomic research in Iran: I. Evaluation of trends, gaps and setting periorities. Agroecology (In Press). (In Persian with English Summary)
23. Office of Science and Technology Policy. 2000. Federal policy and research misconduct. Federal Register 65: 76260-76264.
24. Pimentel, D. 2004. Ethical issues of global corporatization: Agriculture and beyond. Poultry Science 83: 321-329.
25. Pimple, K.D. 2002. Six domains of research ethics. A heuristic framework for the responsible conduct of research. Science and Engineering Ethics 8: 191-205.
26. Shabani Varaki, B., Negahban, H.R. 2006. Logic Search in Education and Social Sciences: New Direction. The First Edition, Behnashr Publication, Mashhad, Iran 220 pp. (In Persian)
27. Stent, A. 2006. Professional ethics and computer science/information systems. Stony Brook University, New York.
28. USDA Forest Service Research and Development. 2000. Code of Scientific Ethics. FS-686, p. 14.
29. Vedadhir, A.A., Farhoud, D., Ghazi Tabatabaee, K., Tavassoli, G. 2008. Standards of ethical behavior for scientific work (A reflection in ethic sociology on the Merton and Resnik's science and technology). Ethics in Science and Technology 2(3&4): 6-17. (In Persian)
30. Von Braun, J., and Brown, M.S. 2003. Ethical questions of equitable world wide food production systems. Plant Physiology 1332: 1040-1045.