ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Serious scientific misconduct that calls the integrity of science into question is only uncovered and reported perhaps a dozen times a year in the United States. This suggests that there isn't much misbehaving taking place in the research arena. Right? Maybe not. A new study suggests that the competitive nature of research fosters an environment where scientific misbehavior takes place far more often than the misconduct that makes headline news. And because scientific misbehavior involves more mundane decisions and actions, it may be easier for researchers to look the other way.
The study, just published in the premier edition of the Journal of Empirical Research on Human Research Ethics, used focus groups and a Web-based survey to find out from researchers what kinds of behaviors they find most troubling, and how often they occur.
"We were a bit surprised when we first heard researchers reporting what they described as rather routine misbehaviors, but as our study went on we kept hearing the same stories, confirming that these kind of things are an everyday part of research," says co-author Raymond De Vries, Ph.D., associate professor of medical education and a member of the Bioethics Program at the University of Michigan.
The study used both qualitative and quantitative measures to ask those who know science best its researchers to describe the behaviors they regard as most threatening to the integrity of their work. These common problems fall into four categories:
- the meaning of data
- the rules of science
- life with colleagues
- pressures of production in science
Examples of misbehavior in these areas include such things as deciding what to do if one's own results can't be duplicated, and manipulation of the review system.
De Vries and his colleagues conducted six focus groups with a total of 51 researchers from major research universities. PartPage: 1 2 3 Related biology news :1
Contact: Mary Beth Reilly
University of Michigan Health System
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