I am working for a company that wants me to do a research related to using some sort of a technology. The research (which is going to be published) requires me to use a piece of a hardware which uses that technology. The company demands that I do all the analysis and the experiments to achieve the goal without mentioning the name of the hardware used which is an important part of the research.

Should I mention the hardware without referring to the name of the hardware?

I have used many resources related to that piece of hardware and I will not be able to mention them in the bibliography. Is this legal?

Does this affect the validity of the research?

What do researchers do in such a situation?

According to your experience is there a work around?

  • Did you ask the company directly? You might not be the first to run into problems with their demands and they might have ways to solve such problems. As a workaround: Use another hardware...
    – Dirk
    Jun 7 '17 at 9:11
  • @Bemte It is a newborn company with no previous researching experience.
    – Macit
    Jun 7 '17 at 10:54
  • 1
    Then you might want to find out why they don't want the hardware to be mentioned. Maybe you can convince them that a paper explaining the benefits of their product can be good for business? Or is it not their own product but rather some random hardware and they just don't want people to know that they have it?
    – Dirk
    Jun 7 '17 at 11:33
  • @Bemte It is not their own hardware but it is an integrated part of their own product. They say that if other companies know about this piece of hardware the system could have security issues in the future. By saying security issues I mean it could be hacked.
    – Macit
    Jun 7 '17 at 18:11
  • Before you do research, and before you sit down to write something, it's important to have a clear idea of why you're doing it. Ask. Look over the answer critically. Ask them to fill in any gaps in the answer. Iterate. Many times. Really, you need to understand why they want you to do this. The path to this understanding is to get clear specifications for the project. Jun 8 '17 at 3:36

If you're going to publish a scientific paper, you need to give information on all of the significant methodology required to achieve the result.

It sounds like you are being asked to publish a paper that would be concealing vital information about its methods. That may be legal, but it is clearly scientifically unethical, and reviewers in a quality venue would likely call you out on that failure.

If you're just doing the research for internal use (or informal publication, e.g., as a corporate technical whitepaper), then there is no expectation of methods disclosure, and there is no ethical barrier to being as vague as you like about your methodology.

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