During the period 1986-92, a questionnaire survey was conducted among research project administrators whose study protocols were assessed by the ethical committee for biomedical research in Health region 4 (Central Norway). The questions referred to the scientists' attitudes towards medical research ethics in general, and their views on the work of the committee. They were also asked to comment on seven statements about scientific fraud and misconduct. This paper presents data on misconduct from the 119 scientists who completed the questionnaire, i.e 70% of the 159 recipients. Some 40% claimed that scientific fraud is a problem in Norway, but 46% maintained that it is less so than in other countries. More than every fourth researcher (27%) knew of one or more cases of scientific misconduct, 42% stated that their knowledge was not publicly known. 18% felt that they had been exposed to misconduct themselves. A majority (60%) stated that a better system is needed to investigate claims of scientific fraud. The authors discuss these findings in relation to the personal characteristics and scientific qualifications of the researchers, and the current knowledge about the extent of scientific fraud in medicine.
Comment In: Tidsskr Nor Laegeforen. 1994 Feb 10;114(4):4718009491
OBJECTIVES: To study and describe how a group of senior researchers and a group of postgraduate students perceived the so-called "grey zone" between normal scientific practice and obvious misconduct. DESIGN: A questionnaire concerning various practices including dishonesty and obvious misconduct. The answers were obtained by means of a visual analogue scale (VAS). The central (two quarters) of the VAS were designated as a grey zone. SETTING: A Swedish medical faculty. SURVEY SAMPLE: 30 senior researchers and 30 postgraduate students. RESULTS: Twenty of the senior researchers and 25 of the postgraduate students answered the questionnaire. In five cases out of 14 the senior researchers' median was found to be clearly within the interval of the grey zone, compared with three cases for the postgraduate students. Three examples of experienced misconduct were provided. Compared with postgraduate students, established researchers do not call for more research ethical guidelines and restrictions. CONCLUSION: Although the results indicate that consensus exists regarding certain obvious types of misconduct the response pattern also indicates that there is no general consensus on several procedures.
BACKGROUND Increasing attention is being paid to research misconduct in academic journals and in the media, but we know relatively little about its extent or attitudes to research misconduct, or how these are changing. This study therefore aims to investigate PhD candidates' knowledge, own actions and attitudes to specific forms of research misconduct.MATERIAL AND METHOD In autumn 2015, an anonymous questionnaire survey was distributed to all participants in the introductory course for PhD candidates at the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Oslo.RESULTS Altogether 77 PhD candidates (79 %) responded to the questionnaire. A total of 62 % conducted clinical research and 25 % conducted basic research. Around one in four had heard about serious forms of research misconduct in the previous year, and around 4 % were aware of various forms of serious research misconduct in their own department in the previous year. Compared to earlier studies, an increasing number (16 %) responded that they had been subjected to unethical pressure with regard to inclusion or order of authors. Approximately two-thirds were uncertain of whether their department had written policies for academic conduct. One-third of PhD candidates did not disassociate themselves from actions that are generally viewed as scientific misconduct. One-tenth thought it acceptable to falsify or fabricate data in order to expedite publication, one-fifth did not object to taking the credit for others' ideas, and almost half did not believe it was wrong to attempt a number of methods of analysis until one arrived at a significant answer.INTERPRETATION PhD candidates at the Faculty of Medicine were aware of research misconduct, both generally and from their own department. They themselves reported some type of scientific misconduct, and a large majority were uncertain of their department's guidelines. Some of the candidates also accepted several forms of research misconduct.