Is failure to raise concerns about misconduct a breach of integrity? Researchers’ reflections on reporting misconduct

TitleIs failure to raise concerns about misconduct a breach of integrity? Researchers’ reflections on reporting misconduct
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsSatalkar, P, Shaw, D
JournalAccountability in Research
Date Published2018
Publication Languageeng
ISBN Number08989621
Keywordsbarriers , Fraud , LIFE , Medical , Obligation , professional , QUALITATIVE , Raising , RCR , research , Responsible , whistleblowing
AbstractThis article describes and discusses the views of researchers on the significance of raising concerns about scientific misconduct in their work environment and the reasons or circumstances that might deter them from doing so. In this exploratory qualitative research study, we conducted in-depth interviews with 33 researchers working in life sciences and medicine. They represent three seniority levels and five universities across Switzerland. A large majority of respondents in this research study argued that failure to raise concerns about scientific misconduct compromises research integrity. This is an encouraging result demonstrating that researchers try to adhere to high ethical standards. However, further interaction with respondents highlighted that this correct ethical assessment does not lead researchers to take the consequent action of raising concerns. The factors that discourage researchers from raising concerns need to be addressed at the level of research groups, institutions, and by setting a positive precedent which helps them to believe in the system's ability to investigate concerns raised in a timely and professional manner. Training of researchers in research integrity related issues will have limited utility unless it is coupled with the creation of research culture where raising concerns is a standard practice of scientific and research activities.
NotesSatalkar, Priya 1; Email Address:; Shaw, David 1; Affiliations: 1: Institute for Biomedical Ethics, University of Basel, Basel, Switzerland; Issue Info: 2018, Vol. 25 Issue 6, p311; Thesaurus Term: PROFESSIONAL ethics of scientists; Thesaurus Term: LIFE sciences research; Thesaurus Term: QUALITATIVE research; Subject Term: MEDICAL research; Subject Term: FRAUD in science; Author-Supplied Keyword: Barriers to reporting misconduct; Author-Supplied Keyword: obligation to report misconduct; Author-Supplied Keyword: qualitative research; Author-Supplied Keyword: Raising concerns about misconduct; Author-Supplied Keyword: RCR education and instruction; Author-Supplied Keyword: research integrity; Author-Supplied Keyword: research misconduct; Author-Supplied Keyword: responsible conduct of research; Author-Supplied Keyword: whistleblowing; NAICS/Industry Codes: 541712 Research and Development in the Physical, Engineering, and Life Sciences (except Biotechnology); NAICS/Industry Codes: 541710 Research and development in the physical, engineering and life sciences; Number of Pages: 29p; Illustrations: 1 Diagram, 1 Chart; Document Type: Article