Differing Perceptions Concerning Research Integrity Between Universities and Industry: A Qualitative Study

Science and Engineering Ethics 24 (5):1421-1436 (2018)
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Despite the ever increasing collaboration between industry and universities, the previous empirical studies on research integrity and misconduct excluded participants of biomedical industry. Hence, there is a lack of empirical data on how research managers and biomedical researchers active in industry perceive the issues of research integrity and misconduct, and whether or not their perspectives differ from those of researchers and research managers active in universities. If various standards concerning research integrity and misconduct are upheld between industry and universities, this might undermine research collaborations. Therefore we performed a qualitative study by conducting 22 semi-structured interviews in order to investigate and compare the perspectives and attitudes concerning the issues of research integrity and misconduct of research managers and biomedical researchers active in industry and universities. Our study showed clear discrepancies between both groups. Diverse strategies in order to manage research misconduct and to stimulate research integrity were observed. Different definitions of research misconduct were given, indicating that similar actions are judged heterogeneously. There were also differences at an individual level, whether the interviewees were active in industry or universities. Overall, the management of research integrity proves to be a difficult exercise, due to many diverse perspectives on several essential elements connected to research integrity and misconduct. A management policy that is not in line with the vision of the biomedical researchers and research managers is at risk of being inefficient.



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