In our experience, addressing questionable research practices in an institution is most effective if it is approached as a research culture concern and with a good understanding of how to affect change in attitudes. So much of professional development efforts are based upon the assumption researchers are unaware of the institutional, national and international standards. And that they are ignorant of the risks. But are our assumptions correct? This Creative Commons paper takes a deep dive into the issues. This is a useful read for staff responsible for the research integrity professional development strategies of institutions and for RIAs.
When scientists act unethically, their actions can cause harm to participants, undermine knowledge creation, and discredit the scientific community. Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) training is one of the main ways institutions try to prevent scientists from acting unethically. However, this only addresses the problem if scientists value the training, and if the problem stems from ignorance. This study looks at what scientists think causes unethical behavior in science, with the hopes of improving RCR training by shaping it based on the views of the targeted audience (n = 14 scientists). Previous studies have surveyed scientists about what they believe causes unethical behavior using pre-defined response items. This study uses a qualitative research methodology to elicit scientists’ beliefs without predefining the range of responses. The data for this phenomenographic study were collected from interviews which presented ethical case studies and asked subjects how they would respond to those situations. Categories and subcategories were created to organize their reasonings. This work will inform the development of future methods for preventing unethical behavior in research.
RCR education, research misconduct, phenomenography, values in science, responsible conduct of research, ethics training
Cairns, A. C., Linville, C., Garcia, T., Bridges, B., Tanona, S., Herington, J., & Laverty, J. T. (2021). A phenomenographic study of scientists’ beliefs about the causes of scientists’ research misconduct. Research Ethics, 17(4), 501–521. https://doi.org/10.1177/17470161211042658
Publisher (Creative Commons): https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/17470161211042658