Over the years, the style and practice of science has seen a considerable
transformation. The pursuit of Science has moved from an individual’s
curiosity driven enquiry to an institutionalized system with a subject
focus, centralized funding and cadre based career options. This change
of structure, has led to competitions in both intellectual and personnel
domains and these, in turn have led to an increase in unethical practices.
To add to this, developments in biological and pharmaceutical sciences
have also led to ethical dilemmas on the use of animals/humans as
objects. New development like the artificial intelligence and, the machine
learning and use of the internet add altogether new layers to the concerns
Increasing number of students and their need for quality education
have also resulted in several compromises in the manner in which the
admissions to the institutions are made, the manner in which the education
is imparted and also the manner in which the examination and evaluations
are conducted. At each stage unethical practices abound. In research
arena, there are issues of plagiarism, predatory journals, manufacture of
data without experiment, ghost or guest authorship to issues of use of
money as a surrogate for quality, have all led to erosion of values and
ethical standards. Similar issues have arisen in Science Governance and
in fair treatment and equal opportunity in respect of gender biases. Ethics,
in the manner in which scientific information is shared with the stake
holders needs much discussion. All such unethical practices are rooted in
the simple desire for short cuts to success and the innate aspiration of the
less meritorious to rise higher in one’s profession. Truth, which is the goal
of Science, stands totally compromised.
The conditions of unethical practices in India are of diverse origins.
On the one hand there are cases of willful adoption of unethical practices
and on the other hand there are cases of sheer ignorance whereby, for
example, many assume that copying from a web source as legitimate.
Money and official status also play a major role in such matters.