Survey study of research integrity officers’ perceptions of research practices associated with instances of research misconduct

Research Integrity and Peer Review 5 (1) (2020)
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Abstract

BackgroundResearch on research integrity has tended to focus on frequency of research misconduct and factors that might induce someone to commit research misconduct. A definitive answer to the first question has been elusive, but it remains clear that any research misconduct is too much. Answers to the second question are so diverse, it might be productive to ask a different question: What about how research is done allows research misconduct to occur?MethodsWith that question in mind, research integrity officers of the 62 members of the American Association of Universities were invited to complete a brief survey about their most recent instance of a finding of research misconduct. Respondents were asked whether one or more good practices of research were present in their case of research misconduct.ResultsTwenty-four of the respondents indicated they had dealt with at least one finding of research misconduct and answered the survey questions. Over half of these RIOs reported that their case of research misconduct had occurred in an environment in which at least nine of the ten listed good practices of research were deficient.ConclusionsThese results are not evidence for a causal effect of poor practices, but it is arguable that committing research misconduct would be more difficult if not impossible in research environments adhering to good practices of research.

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