Nature and causes of questionable research practice and research misconduct from a philosophy of science perspective

Ethics and Behavior 34 (4):294-302 (2024)
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Abstract

Misconduct in science is often viewed and analyzed through the lenses of normative ethics and moral philosophy. However, notions and methods in the philosophy of science could also provide rather penetrative explanatory insights into the nature and causes of scientific misconduct. A brief illustration in this regard, using as examples the widely popular Popperian falsification and the Kuhnian scientific paradigm, is provided. In multiple areas of scientific research, failure to seek falsification in a Popperian manner constitutes a questionable research practice and could lead to “falsification” in the context of research misconduct. On the other hand, scientific misconduct is often facilitated by its perpetrators using the familiarity, expectations and confines of a Kuhnian paradigm to blend in fabricated data/results. A rudimentary application of these philosophical notions could be useful in our understanding of the nature and cause of research misconduct, and facilitate mitigation of the latter through educational means.

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References found in this work

The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.Thomas S. Kuhn - 1962 - Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press. Edited by Ian Hacking.
Science, Policy, and the Value-Free Ideal.Heather Douglas - 2009 - University of Pittsburgh Press.
The Logic of Scientific Discovery.K. Popper - 1959 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 10 (37):55-57.

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