Perceived publication pressure and research misconduct: should we be too bothered with a causal relationship?

Research Ethics 18 (4):329-338 (2022)
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Abstract

Publication pressure has been touted to promote questionable research practices (QRP) and scientific or research misconduct (RM). However, logically attractively as it is, there is no unequivocal evidence for this notion, and empirical studies have produced conflicting results. Other than difficulties in obtaining unbiased empirical data, a direct causal relationship between perceived publication pressure (PPP) and QRP/RM is inherently difficult to establish, because the former is a complex biopsychosocial construct that is variedly influenced by multiple personal and environmental factors. To effectively address QRP/RM by tackling the sources of PPP would also be difficult because of the competitive nature of the reward and merit system of contemporary science. We might do better with efforts in enhancing knowledge in research ethics and integrity among the practitioners, as well as institutional infrastructures and mechanisms to fairly and efficiently adjudicate cases of QRP/RM.

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