Original Paper

Science and Engineering Ethics

, Volume 13, Issue 4, pp 395-414

First online:

Causal Factors Implicated in Research Misconduct: Evidence from ORI Case Files

  • Mark S. DavisAffiliated withCriminal Justice Research Center, The Ohio State University Email author 
  • , Michelle Riske-MorrisAffiliated withJustice Research & Advocacy, Inc.
  • , Sebastian R. DiazAffiliated withCollege of Human Resources and Education, West Virginia University

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There has been relatively little empirical research into the causes of research misconduct. To begin to address this void, the authors collected data from closed case files of the Office of Research Integrity (ORI). These data were in the form of statements extracted from ORI file documents including transcripts, investigative reports, witness statements, and correspondence. Researchers assigned these statements to 44 different concepts. These concepts were then analyzed using multidimensional scaling and cluster analysis. The authors chose a solution consisting of seven clusters: (1) personal and professional stressors, (2) organizational climate, (3) job insecurities, (4) rationalizations A, (5) personal inhibitions, (6) rationalizations B and, (7) personality factors. The authors discuss the implications of their findings for policy and for future research.


Research integrity Research misconduct Responsible conduct of research