Institutionen för informationsteknologi

Group projects, Analyses and Evaluations

Group 1

Anette, Håkan, Mereike

The Issue

Visiting the supermarket for my weekly shopping I suddenly observe a person pilfering

Stakeholders concerned and assumed interests

Pilfering person:1) Get food for free, 2) Not get caught

Owner of the supermarket: 1) Economic interest, 2) Earn good reputation, 3) The supermarket a safe place

General public: 1) Justice, 2) Safety, 3) Stability

Myself: 1) Clean conscience, 2) Avoid problems

Problem owner

I reflect upon four possible actions:
1. Report to supermarket staff
2. Tell the pilfering person to put back the stuff
3. Offer him/her that I can pay for the stuff
4. Look away: Do nothing


Clean conscience

1. Report to staff: I make a contribution to the supermarket as a safe and orderly place for myself, my fellow customers and the staff in particular, and to a fair and safe society in general. In the best of worlds, the pilfering person will be guided to a better way of living through the interaction of the police/social services. However I am worried by the risk of the poor person being badly treated by security staff/police, and still without getting food.

2. Tell the person to put back the stuff: I react directly upon the intent to pilfer; I avoid a crime to be committed. This act contributes to the safety and well-being of those in the supermarket, and in society in general. Besides I feel that I have done the person a favour hindering him/her doing an immoral thing. However, the poor person still is lacking food and may make another attempt when I am out of sight.

3. Offer to pay for the stuff: In this way I combine to actively avoid that a crime is committed and enabling a poor person to get food. By my generosity the general feeling of well-being among customers and staff in the supermarket is enhanced. And the poor person will be thankful towards me! On the other hand, do I not naïvely believe that my paying will change his/her criminal behaviour? That the only outcome is that I assume the economic loss of the owner of the supermarket, a loss that even is calculated and embedded in the price!

4. Look away: This alternative puts a heavy strain on my conscience. Neglecting to react upon a criminal, and probably also immoral act, I passively contribute to the deterioration of the social climate of society in general, and of the well-being of everybody concerned in the supermarket. There are only losers: the owner, the staff, the fellow customers, the pilfering person him/herself, and especially myself, behaving in such a cowardly way. I have to put in a lot of efforts to justify my neglects by assuring myself that what was stolen represents very little value, that the poor person needed the food much more than the owner of the supermarket, who - by the way - actually deserved it, making huge profits on ordinary people's need for subsistence.

Avoid Problems

1. Report thief. Reporting the theft to the stuff costs a certain amount of time and effort. On the other hand reporting the thief to the staff might add value because of the overall effects on society. Overall, the reporting to teh stuff would rather lead to problems than to avoiding.

2.Tell thief to put the stuff back. Confronting the thief might lead to an uncomfortable situation (i.e. thief getting angry) and therefore be a problem. On the other hand compared to reporting the thief I might feel less uncomfortable than reporting him. It will also save me more time. And I would still have the same outcome as reporting him in regards to others (shop owner, societies) interests.

3. Offer to pay for the stuff. While this solution offers an easy way out and might reduce the burden to the conscience, it also comes with implications related to problem avoiding. On the one hand it might lead to the thief becoming more obtrusive, the pressure of expectations might lead to problems. On the other hand the implications of this action on society level might backlash, since the thief gets encouraged and might maintain his destructive behavior.

4. Look away. Looking away might avoid but also cause trouble: On the one hand looking away makes me not have to deal with the trouble of reporting the theft or addressing the thief. On the other hand looking away can potentially lead to me being partly responsible for the theft. However the chance for the latter to happen is in any case smaller.

Group 2

Joseph, Sofia, Jing, Thomas


Problem Statement
Can intellectual property be both public and private? Is it ethical to assert ownership of an idea (i.e., by seeking patent protection for intellectual property), while simultaneously seeking scientific and/or academic kudos for it by publishing results in the public domain?

1. Authors of the solver
2. The university.
3. Potential customers.
4. Industry.
5. Researchers.
6. Open source developers.

Reputation, financial benefits, ownership, option to control use, spin off profitable ventures, convenience, service, cheap software, avoid lawsuits, connections to research community, no dependency on a third party, improving ideas, community development.

Possible Actions
1. Patent.
2. Publish.
3. Publish and patent (openly).
4. Publish and patent (without telling anyone).
5. Do nothing.

The options to openly patent, publish or both are harder to distinguish between, as they all have positive and negative aspects. So, if we view the problem from a Utilitarian perspective, it basically boils down to how we would like to distribute the positive and negative effects.

1. Patenting would be financially beneficial for the researchers and their university, but negative for everyone else. It would not provide any benefits concerning the academic reputation of the researchers or the university, more likely it will have a negative impact.
2. Publishing would not be as financially beneficial for the researchers and their university as there will be no income from licencing fees. But on the other hand publishing will increase their academic reputation which in turn might provide more lucrative funding opportunities. Since the method would be freely available to use in commercial software, the industry will profit. The open source community and research community would be able to make use of the method and freely build upon it as well.
3. Patenting and publishing is a middle-ground solution which redistributes economical benefits back from the industry to the researchers and the university while still keeping some of the benefits of publishing intact. Depending on the conditions of the patent it would be predominantly negative for the research community and open source community since their use is limited.
4. The option to publish and then patent without telling anyone is straight up stupid (and also the worst option). Other stakeholders will spend time and money on activities based on the belief that there is no patent, and when the patent is discovered this will probably not be taken lightly by these stakeholders.
It will mostly affect the reputation of the responsible researchers and the university negatively in the eyes of the research community, funding agents and probably also the industry.
5. The option to neither patent or publish doesn't really help anyone, unless the researchers plan to improve on the method and publish and/or patent later, but that option is not covered and will in any case be a repeat of the current options.
Unless making the method publicly available entails negative effects, such as e.g. weapons research potentially could, there is no reason to go for this option.

We believe the most ethical solution is the middle-ground option of both patenting and publishing, since it distributes negative and positive effects somewhat evenly over the stakeholders.


Group 5

Stavros, David, Johan

Group 6

Fredrik, Omer, Malin, Marcus

Problem Statement
Should a researcher re-publish his/her own previously published material?

1. The first author/problem owner, that is, the person who is being asked to re-publish.
2. The other authors.
3. The proposer, the person who proposed that the work should be re-published.
4. The department/university to which the first author and proposers belong.
5. The advancement of science in general.
6. Research competitors, that is, researchers in the same field/sub-field.
7. The funding agencies.
8. The two journals (i.e., where the work was originally published and the one where the work is to submitted now).

Funding, career advancement, trustworthiness and scientific reputation, time, opportunity cost in terms of publications, visibility, availability of results (i.e., how likely is it that the results will be translated into actual applications), scientific progress, fairness.

Possible Actions
1. Republish.
2. Do no republish.
3. Republish with considerable modifications/improvements.
4. Republish but cite original work.
5. Republish as a tutorial or in a non-scientific journal.

1. If one decides to republish then on one hand the authors and the proposer would get more publications which may be good for their career but not for the career prospects of their competitors. However, they may lose their integrity and reputation. Similarly for the given option, the same outcomes hold for the department/university as well. This option is also detrimental to science in general where one expects that publications to should add some value to the body of knowledge already available. Such a publication would also be unfair to the two journals since now the same article would be available from two different sources and therefore they would have to compete with each other for the same amount of revenue (i.e., the revenue which the readers would have paid to one journal to access the article were it published in only one journal).
2. If one decides not to re-publish then the authors and the proposer will off course end up with fewer publications. This may have a slightly negative impact on their careers; however, there are no other negative impacts on wither their reputation or on science, competitors or the publishing journals. It seems like an option with minor advantages and disadvantages.
3. Republishing with considerable modifications has many advantages such as the authors and the proposer get their publications without any danger of receiving a bad reputation. In addition, such an option is fruitful for science and society as well and there are no negative ramifications for the two publishing journals. However for such an option, the first author would have to perform additional experiments and spend considerable time re-writing the paper and there may not be support for funding such an endeavor. In addition, the credibility of the option comes down to the amount of new modifications in the paper. This is a sliding scale and it may be very subjective as to how many changes actually make the new paper significantly different from the old one.
4. This is a tricky option because on one hand we are submitting the same paper as in option 1 (so it has almost the same advantages and disadvantages) and at the same time we are citing the previous work as well, thus putting the onus of rejection on the editor of the new journal.
5. In this option, one decides to re-publish the paper as a tutorial at a scientific conference. In this manner the authors are acknowledging that the work is not novel yet they may gain some career advantage out of the effort. This effort would require some additional effort from the first author but on the other hand would not be unfair or unethical to any of the
other stakeholders.

After considering all options we conclude that there is only one option which is moral and fair and which has the least number of unfavorable potential outcomes; we suggest that the paper be published as a tutorial in a conference or in a non-scientific journal.

OLE questionnaire, Collab analysis

Uppdaterad  2015-02-24 15:16:22 av Jing Liu.