In this paper, I will argue that making it mandatory to report research misconduct is too demanding, as this kind of intervention can at times be self-destructive for the researcher reporting the misconduct. I will also argue that posing the question as a binary dilemma masks important ethical aspects of such situations. In situations that are too demanding for individual researchers to rectify through reporting, there can be other forms of social control available. I will argue that researchers should explore these. Finally, framing the issue as a question about the responsibilities of individual researchers masks the responsibilities of research institutions. Until institutions introduce measures that make this safe and effective, we should not consider reporting research misconduct mandatory. I will discuss this in light of both quantitative and qualitative data gathered as part of a survey in the PRINTEGER-project.
Vie, K.J. (2020) How should researchers cope with the ethical demands of discovering research misconduct? Going beyond reporting and whistleblowing. Life Sciences, Society and Policy 16(6). https://doi.org/10.1186/s40504-020-00102-6
Publisher (Open Access): https://lsspjournal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s40504-020-00102-6
Most, but not all, research integrity standard direct that it is the responsibility of researchers to disclose/report research misconduct when they become aware of it. Individual institutions tend to dutifully copy this expectation into their local arrangements. But most of those arrangements are silent on the responsibility of institutions to create safe and supportive spaces for individuals who are whistleblowers. This recent open access paper suggests that must change.