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ResourcesResearch Integrity(US) Is it time to revise the definition of research misconduct? (Papers: David B. Resnik | February 2019)

Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS)

(US) Is it time to revise the definition of research misconduct? (Papers: David B. Resnik | February 2019)

Published/Released on February 01, 2019 | Posted by Admin on March 9, 2019 / , , , , ,
 


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ABSTRACT

Often the US approach to research integrity is held up as the gold standard, but it isn’t without its critics and problems. Enshrining national arrangements in law both elevates their standing but also reduces their agility.  A regulatory approach can make it easier to argue for institutional resources to implement, while also can result in a greater fixation on complying with the letter of the law but not necessarily its spirit. We agree its high time for learned academies to get tough on sexual harassment and bullying, but national approaches to research misconduct must encompass the breadth of destructive/toxic/bad behaviour and be agile enough to respond to emergent problems and evolving societal expectations. And that isn’t ‘just’ a gender and International Women’s Day issue.

U.S. federal policy defines research misconduct as fabrication of data, falsification of data, or plagiarism (FFP). In recent years, some have argued or suggested that the definition of research misconduct should also include sexual harassment, sabotage, deceptive use of statistics, and failure to disclose a significant conflict of interest (COI). While the arguments for revising the definition of misconduct used by federal agencies to include misbehaviors other than FFP are not convincing at this point in time, the arguments for revising definitions used by other organizations, such as professional societies, universities, or journals, may be. Since these other organizations play an important role in promoting integrity in science and deterring unethical behavior, they may consider adopting definitions of misconduct that extend beyond FFP. Debates about the definition of research misconduct are a normal and healthy part of broader discussions about integrity in science and how best to promote it. These debates should continue even if the federal definition of misconduct remains unchanged.
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KEYWORDS:
Research misconduct, fabrication, falsification, plagiarism, definition, sexual harassment, sabotage, statistics
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David B. Resnik (2019) Is it time to revise the definition of research misconduct?, Accountability in Research, 26:2, 123-137, DOI: 10.1080/08989621.2019.1570156



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