This discussion activity is intended to warm up attendees at a professional development event about Human Research Ethics. This is to encourage a reflection on how different groups regard research participants. There are no right answers, the objective is to get people talking and reflecting on Human Research Ethics matters. It is also an opportunity to reflect upon matters such as paternity in decision making, showing respect and conflicts of interests.
In this commentary sheet we discuss what some have termed ‘soft misconduct’ and five ways in which institutions can deal with them. Others have reasonably observed that they are just research misconduct and should be investigated and punished as such. While this might indeed be the case, until national research integrity codes (such as the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research) list these behaviours as being research misconduct, institutions will need to deal with them with their own policies and procedures.