Exploring Scientific Misconduct: Isolated Individuals, Impure Institutions, or an Inevitable Idiom of Modern Science?

Article

Abstract

This paper identifies three distinct narratives concerning scientific misconduct: a narrative of “individual impurity” promoted by those wishing to see science self-regulated; a narrative of “institutional impropriety” promoted by those seeking greater external control of science; and a narrative of “structural crisis” among those critiquing the entire process of research itself. The paper begins by assessing contemporary definitions and estimates of scientific misconduct. It emphasizes disagreements over such definitions and estimates as a way to tease out tension and controversy over competing visions of scientific research. It concludes by noting that each narrative suggests a different approach for resolving misconduct, and that the difference inherent in these views may help explain much of the discord concerning unethical behavior in the scientific community.

Keywords

Scientific misconduct Bioethics training Fraud Fabrication Plagiarism 

References

  1. Abraham, J., & Sheppard, J. (1999). Complacent and conflicting scientific expertise in British and American drug regulation: clinical risk assessment of triazolam. Social Studies of Science, 29(6), 803–843. doi:10.1177/030631299029006001.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Barnes, J. (1984). The complete works of Aristotle. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  3. Black, Charles Allen (2004). The cure for deadly patent practices: preventing technology suppression and patent shelving in the life sciences. Albany Law Journal of Science & Technology, 14, 396–414.Google Scholar
  4. Bogner, A., & Menz, W. (2006). Science crime: the Korean cloning scandal and the role of ethics. Science & Public Policy, 33(8), 601–612. doi:10.3152/147154306781778650.Google Scholar
  5. Bridgstock, M. (1982). A sociological approach to fraud in science. Journal of Sociology (Melbourne, Vic.), 18(3), 364–384. doi:10.1177/144078338201800305.Google Scholar
  6. Broad, W.J. (1980). Would-be academician pirates papers. Science, 208, 1438–1440. doi:10.1126/science.208.4451.1438.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Broad, W.J. (1981). Fraud and the structure of science. Science, 212(4491), 137–141. doi:10.1126/science.7209527.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Cohen, J., & Siegel, E. (2005). Academic medical centers and medical research: the challenges ahead. Journal of the American Medical Association, 294(11), 1367–1372. doi:10.1001/jama.294.11.1367.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Eisen, A., & Berry, R. (2002). The absent professor: why we don’t teach research ethics and what to do about it. The American Journal of Bioethics, 4(2), 38–49. doi:10.1162/152651602320957556.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Farthing, M. (2000). Research misconduct: diagnosis, treatment, and prevention. British Journal of Surgery, 87, 1605–1609. doi:10.1046/j.1365-2168.2000.01692.x.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Feyerabend, P.K. (1965). Against method. London: New Left Books.Google Scholar
  12. Fisher, R.A. (1936). Has Mendel’s work been rediscovered? Annals of Science, 1, 115–137. doi:10.1080/00033793600200111.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Frankel, M. (2000). Scientific societies as sentinels of responsible research conduct. Proceedings of the Society for Experimental Biology and Medicine, 224(4), 216–219. doi:10.1111/jel.1525-1373.2000.22424.x.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Gilbelman, M., & Gelman, S.R. (2005). Scientific misconduct in social welfare research: preventative lessons from other fields. Social Work Education, 24(3), 275–295. doi:10.1080/02615470500050461.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Goldberg, D. (2003). Research fraud: a sui generic problem demands a sui generic solution (plus a little due process). Thomas M. Cooley Law Review, 20, 47–69.Google Scholar
  16. Hackett, E.J. (1990). Science as a vocation in the 1990s: the changing organizational culture of academic science. The Journal of Higher Education, 61(3), 241–279. doi:10.2307/1982130.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Hackett, B. (2005). Essential tensions: identity, control, and risk in research. Social Studies of Science, 35(5), 787–826. doi:10.1177/0306312705056045.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Howard, E. (1994). Science misconduct and due process: a case of process due. The Hastings Law Journal, 45, 309–340.Google Scholar
  19. Jasanoff, S. (1996). Beyond epistemology: relativism and engagement in the politics of science. Social Studies of Science, 29, 397–414.Google Scholar
  20. Kaiser, J. (1999). Policing of science: a misconduct definition that finally sticks? Science, 286(5439), 391. doi:10.1126/science.286.5439.391a.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Knorr-Cetina, K. (1999). Epistemic cultures: how the sciences make knowledge. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  22. Kochan, C.A., & Budd, J.M. (1992). The persistence of fraud in the literature: the Darsee Case. Journal of the American Society for Information Science American Society for Information Science, 43(7), 488–493. doi:10.1002/(SICI)1097-4571(199208)43:7<488::AID-ASI3>3.0.CO;2-7.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Krimsky, S. (2005). The funding effect in science and its implications for the judiciary. Journal of Law and Policy, 13, 45–51.Google Scholar
  24. Kuzma, S.M. (1992). Criminal liability for misconduct in scientific research. University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform. University of Michigan. Law School, 25, 357–401.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  25. Lefor, A.T. (2005). Scientific misconduct and unethical experimentation: historic parallels and moral implications. Nutrition (Burbank, Los Angeles County, California), 21, 881. doi:10.1016/j.nut.2004.10.011.Google Scholar
  26. Manwell, C., & Baker, A. (1981). Honesty in science: a partial test of a sociobiological model of the social structure of science. Search. Science, Technology & Society, 12(6), 151–162.Google Scholar
  27. Marshall, E. (2000). Scientific misconduct: how prevalent is fraud? That’s a million dollar question. Science, 290(5497), 1662–1663. doi:10.1126/science.290.5497.1662.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Martin, B. (1992). Scientific fraud and the power structure of science. Prometheus, 10(1), 83–98.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Martinson, B., et al. (2005). Scientists behaving badly. Nature, 453, 737–738. doi:10.1038/435737a.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Merton, R.K. (1973). The sociology of science. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  31. National Academy of Sciences (1989). On being a scientist. Committee on the Conduct of Science. Washington, D.C.: National Academy.Google Scholar
  32. National Academy of Sciences (2004). Integrity in scientific research: creating an environment that promotes responsible conduct. Washington, DC: National Academies.Google Scholar
  33. Newton, R. (1977). The crime of Claudius Ptolemy. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.Google Scholar
  34. Nowotny, H. (2000). Transgressive competence: the narrative of expertise. European Journal of Social Theory, 3(1), 5–21.Google Scholar
  35. ORI. 2005. 42 CFR Part 93. Public Health Service Policies on Research Misconduct.Google Scholar
  36. Pickering, A. (1993). The mangle of practice: agency and emergence in the sociology of science. American Journal of Sociology, 99(3), 559–589. doi:10.1086/230316.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Redman, B., & Caplan, A. (2005). Off with their heads: the need to criminalize some forms of scientific misconduct. The Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics, 33, 344–361. doi:10.1111/j.1748-720X.2005.tb00498.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Resnik, D.B. (1998). The ethics of science: an introduction. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  39. Resnik, D.B. (2003). From Baltimore to Bell Labs: reflections on two decades of debate about scientific misconduct. Accountability in Research, 10, 123–135. doi:10.1080/08989620300508.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  40. Resnik, D.B. (2007). The price of truth: how money affects the norms of science. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  41. Reynolds, S.M. (2004). ORI findings of scientific misconduct in clinical trials and publicly funded research, 1992–2002. Clinical Trials, 1, 509–516. doi:10.1191/1740774504cn048oa.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Saunders, K.M., & Levine, L. (2004). Better, faster cheaper—later: what happens when technologies are suppressed. Michigan Telecommunications and Technology Law Review, 11, 23–69.Google Scholar
  43. Shamoo, A.E., & Resnik, David B. (2003). Responsible conduct of research. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  44. Sovacool, Benjamin K. (2005). Using criminalization and due process to reduce scientific misconduct. The American Journal of Bioethics, 5(5), W1–7. doi:10.1080/15265160500313242.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Wagner, W., & Michaels, D. (2004). Equal treatment for regulatory science: extending the controls governing the quality of public research to private research. American Journal of Law & Medicine, 30, 119–154.Google Scholar
  46. Weinstein, D. (1979). Fraud in science. Social Science Quarterly, 59(4), 638–647.Google Scholar
  47. Westfall, R.S. (1994). The life of Isaac Newton. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  48. Ziman, J. (1970). Some pathologies of the scientific life. Nature, 227, 996–997. doi:10.1038/227996a0.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre on Asia and Globalisation, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public PolicyNational University of SingaporeSingaporeSingapore

Personalised recommendations