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Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS)

Gossip as Social Control: Informal Sanctions on Ethical Violations in Scientific Workplaces (Papers: Brandon Vaidyanathan September 2016)EH0

Posted by Admin in on October 22, 2016
 

The described phenomena might be a part of peer-based social control, but it also might be a recognition of the problems of whistleblowing.

Abstract: Research on misconduct in science has largely focused on egregious violations such as fabrication, falsification, and plagiarism. Recent scholarship, however, calls for greater attention to forms of everyday misconduct and how scientists navigate ethical ambiguity when they are unable or unwilling to make formal accusations. Drawing on interview data from 251 physicists and biologists from both elite and non-elite universities and research institutes in the United States, United Kingdom, and India, we find that scientists are often reticent or unable to take formal action against many behaviors they perceive as unethical and irresponsible. As a result, they resort to informal gossip to warn colleagues of transgressors. Many express confidence that such pro-social gossip can serve as a means of social control by tarnishing the reputations of transgressors. Yet its effectiveness as a form of social control is limited, particularly when transgressors enjoy higher status than gossipers. We identify two types and three consequences of such gossip and assess the effectiveness of gossip as a means of social control. Finally, we consider the implications of our study for understanding and decreasing misconduct in science.

Keywords: Gossip; Misconduct; Science; Scientists; Ethics

Vaidyanathan B, Khalsa S and Ecklund EH  (2016) Gossip as Social Control: Informal Sanctions on Ethical Violations in Scientific Workplaces
Social Problems DOI: 10.1093/socpro/spw022
Publisher: http://socpro.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2016/09/19/socpro.spw022.abstract

Read Retraction Watch’s interview with Brandon Vaidyanathan about this work

What publishers and countries do most retractions for fake peer review come from? – Retraction Watch (Alison McCook September 2016)0

Posted by Admin in on October 21, 2016
 

A new analysis – which included scanning Retraction Watch posts – has identified some trends in papers pulled for fake peer review, a subject we’ve covered at length.

For those who aren’t familiar, fake reviews arise when researchers associated with the paper in question (most often authors) create email addresses for reviewers, enabling them to write their own positive reviews.

The article – released September 23 by the Postgraduate Medical Journal – found the vast majority of papers were retracted from journals with impact factors below 5, and most included co-authors based in China.

Read the rest of the news story

(Australian QLD case update) Parkinson’s researcher in Australia pleads not guilty to fraud – Retraction Watch (Dalmeet Singh Chawla, October)0

Posted by Admin in on October 18, 2016
 

Parkinson’s researcher Caroline Barwood pleaded not guilty to fraud-related charges in a Brisbane courtroom Monday.

According to 9News, Barwood is accused of three counts of fraud, and four instances of attempted fraud, which include trying to obtain approximately $700,000 (AUD) from various organizations between 2011 and 2013 for a study that never occurred. The case follows an investigation at her former institution, the University of Queensland (UQ), which resulted in three of her papers being retracted.

Crown Prosecutor Caroline Marco alleged that Barwood was also intimately involved with Bruce Murdoch, her former colleague at the UQ, who has pleaded guilty to 17-fraud related charges, and received a two-year suspended sentence earlier this year.

Read the rest of the news story

(Australian QLD case) Parkinson’s researcher with three retractions heads to court on Monday – Retraction Watch (Dalmeet Singh Chawla October 2016)0

Posted by Admin in on October 15, 2016
 

On Monday, Parkinson’s researcher Caroline Barwood will head to court in Brisbane, Australia, following a probe at her former institution, the University of Queensland (UQ).

Barwood was granted bail in November, 2014 — charges included that she “dishonestly applied for grant funds,” and fabricated research that claimed a breakthrough in treating Parkinson’s disease, according to The Guardian. In March, Bruce Murdoch, a former colleague of Barwood’s at UQ, pleaded guilty to 17 fraud-related charges, and received a two-year suspended sentence after an institutional investigation into 92 academic papers.

We contacted Barwood about the upcoming trial, but she told us she is unable to comment on proceedings at this time, and didn’t provide the contact details for her attorney despite multiple requests.

Read the rest of this news story

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