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ResourcesResearch Integrity“Ethical shades of gray:” 90% of researchers in new health field admit to questionable practices – Retraction Watch (Alison McCook | March 2018)

Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS)

“Ethical shades of gray:” 90% of researchers in new health field admit to questionable practices – Retraction Watch (Alison McCook | March 2018)

 


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It’s always interesting to know how many researchers in any given field engage in so-called questionable research practices that don’t rise to the level of out-and-out fraud: honorary authorship, citing articles they don’t read, choosing reference lists that would please editors or reviewers, for instance. And when the researchers work in a field with potential health implications, the findings are even more compelling. Lauren Maggio and Anthony R. Artino, Jr. from the Uniformed Services University spoke to us recently about the findings from their survey (posted in bioarXiv) of health professions education researchers, a relatively new field that studies how future health professionals are trained.

This interview reflects on survey data that will be quite sobering for research office staff, health research leaders and publishers/editors. We have added a trove of related news, commentaries and other resource items.

Retraction Watch: You note that 90% of the people who volunteered to complete the survey admitted to at least one questionable research practice. Was that surprising?

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Lauren Maggio and Anthony R. Artino, Jr.: Yes, we were quite surprised! We had an idea that many of these practices were happening, but we didn’t know the extent of the problem and weren’t sure if respondents would be honest about their practices. For example, one of our survey respondents said he was happy we were doing the survey, but he cautioned that respondents would not admit to these practices, even if they were doing them. It seems he was wrong, and we suspect that he too would be quite surprised by our findings.
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