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Case Study: Katherine's Dilemma

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ORI Introduction to RCR: Chapter 1. Rules of the Road    

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Katherine, a postdoc in Dr. Susan B.’s laboratory, has just had a manuscript accepted for publication in a prestigious research journal, conditional on a few important changes. Most importantly, the editor has requested that she significantly shorten the methods section to save space. If she makes the requested changes, other researchers may not be able to replicate her work.
 
Asked about the situation, Dr. B. recommends that Katherine go ahead with the changes. After all, if other researchers want more information they can always get in touch. She remains concerned that an inadequate explanation of her methods could lead other researchers to waste time and valuable research dollars attempting to replicate her work.
 
  • Should Katherine make the requested changes?
  • Should she be concerned about providing inadequate information to colleagues?
  • Is reducing detail in methods sections a reasonable way to go about saving valuable space in journals?
  • How can Katherine get definitive answers to these and other questions about the responsible conduct of research?