Albert Einstein College of Medicine
Tue, 22 Jan 2013 16:15 CST
Misconduct occurs across the career spectrum, from trainees to senior scientists.
Male scientists are far more likely to commit fraud than females and the fraud occurs across the career spectrum, from trainees to senior faculty. The analysis of professional misconduct was co-led by a researcher at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University and was published today in the online journal mBio
"The fact that misconduct occurs across all stages of career development suggests that attention to ethical aspects of scientific conduct should not be limited to those in training, as is the current practice," said senior author Arturo Casadevall, M.D., Ph.D., professor and chair of microbiology & immunology and professor of medicine at Einstein, as well as editor-in-chief of mBio.
He added, "Our other finding - that males are overrepresented among those committing misconduct - implies a gender difference we need to better understand in any effort to promote the integrity of research."
In a previous study, Dr. Casadevall found that misconduct is responsible for two-thirds of all retractions of scientific papers. The finding was unexpected, since earlier research had suggested that errors account for the majority of retracted scientific papers.
Researchers embarked on the current study to better understand those who are guilty of scientific fraud. They reviewed 228 individual cases of misconduct reported by the United States Office of Research Integrity
(ORI) from 1994 through 2012. ORI promotes the responsible conduct of research and investigates charges of misconduct involving research supported by the Department of Health and Human Services.
An analysis determined that fraud was involved in 215 (94 percent) of the 228 cases reported by the ORI. Of these, 40 percent involved trainees, 32 percent involved faculty members, and 28 percent involved other research personnel (research scientists, technicians, study coordinators, and interviewers).