Dilemma: Mutual favours
A good colleague from my department makes me the following offer: If I make him co-author on my next article and he will do the same for me. We are both coming up for tenure soon, and my colleague has been particularly overloaded with teaching tasks. To the outside world, the co-authorships will not seem illogical, as we are doing research on similar topics. What do I do?
A: I let him be a co-author on my article but I do not want to be co-author of his article.
B: I accept the offer, on the condition that we both critically read each other’s paper.
C: I ask advice from my superior, who also happens to be the professor responsible for my colleague.
D: I decline the offer and report the unethical behaviour to the head of our department.
(We gratefully acknowledge permission to reproduce this dilemma from the “Dilemma Game. Professionalism and Integrity in Research” as developed by the Erasmus University Rotterdam (link to the game) in this tool.)