Springer Nature-Digital Science survey reveals that pandemic-hit researchers are more likely to return to old data, which some worry could lead to fraud
Concerns about a possible spike in unethical research behaviour have been triggered by a major survey of international academics that highlights the heavy toll inflicted on science by recent lockdowns.
Some have found the lockdowns have been a time to get all the jobs done that we left because we were too busy stampeding to the next deadline. It’s tough though because we are under immense financial pressure to perform when revenue is being cut (trials) and revenue is needed quickly. That pressure can see even good researchers make mistakes and can serve as a further perverse incentive for cheats.
Chemistry was the discipline most affected by restrictions, with almost half of researchers (47 per cent) saying they had been “extremely” or “very impacted” by the lockdown, followed by biology (39 per cent) and then medicine and materials science (both 36 per cent).
India was the worst-hit country, with 18 per cent of respondents stating that they had been unable to do any research at all, followed closely by Brazil, where the figure was 12 per cent.