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Re: Do people need help with proposal writing? James R. Brett 23 Apr 1998 19:43 EST


I think that there is a professional conceit confusing practice here.

I believe that the proposal is legally from the institution, representing the
"individuals" who wrote it.   There is no misconduct in production of an
original work in this context.   A lawyer preparing a contract is not the
contractor, even though the English language will give you a paradigm
suggesting this.

I admit that my interpretation raises an interesting question when the writer
plagiarizes.  In practice, there is a more or less automatic devolution of
responsibility to the prospective P.I. which, however, could not be shirked by
the person signing off for the institution if, for instance, the author
(faculty or hired gun) had been caught at plagiarism before.

If you are saying that a person might claim no responsibility for completing
work that was described by another hand, I think that person could be easily
shown that they had misunderstood the inclusive effect of having signed the


Terry A. May wrote:

>      I believe there is no question that assistance in reviewing and
> editing of professional papers and proposals is an accepted and valuable
> practice.  However, I would like to raise a slightly different issue that I
> think needs to be considered.  If a proposal is written largely by one
> individual and another signs it as the PI, then I think the PI signing the
> proposal could be guilty of misconduct by assuming responsibility for the
> work of another.  I know that "ghost writing" is a generally accepted
> practice, but I believe it should be avoided for many reasons, including
> this one.
> Terry A. May, Ph.D.                       Voice:    520-523-6788
>   Director of Research Administration     FAX:      520-523-1075
>   Office of Grant & Contract Services     INTERNET:
>   100 Babbitt Admin. Ctr., Box 4130
>   Northern Arizona University
>   Flagstaff, AZ  86011-4130

James R. Brett, Ph.D., Director
Office of University Research
562-985-4833   fax 985-8662