Research Agenda

NSF Division of Social and Economic Sciences

Award #1737093  Text Recycling in Scientific Research Writing

In Phase 1, currently underway, we are learning about text recycling through three approaches. One arm of this research involves interviewing and surveying experienced STEM faculty, students, journal editors, and others regarding the ethics of text recycling. We are investigating questions such as these: What do expert researchers, students, and others involved in scientific communication believe to be appropriate practice, and why? Where is there a clear consensus among experts and where is there substantive disagreement? In a second arm, we are analyzing a corpus of published scientific papers to investigate how researchers recycle text in practice and how this has changed over time. The third arm involves analyzing publisher contracts and copyright law to better understand the rights of publishers and authors regarding text recycling and to assess their legal validity.

In Phase 2, we will use findings from Phase 1 to develop, test, and disseminate two kinds of materials:

  • web and print based instructional materials for STEM students (and others new to STEM research) explaining the ethical, legal, and practical issues involved with text recycling, as well as accompanying documents for faculty, administrators, and librarians.
  • model policies and guidelines for text recycling that address appropriate practice in both academic and professional settings. We will obtain feedback on drafts of these materials from stakeholders and revise them accordingly, after which they will be disseminated.