The Epistemic Integrity of Scientific Research
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- De Winter, J. & Kosolosky, L. Sci Eng Ethics (2013) 19: 757. doi:10.1007/s11948-012-9394-3
We live in a world in which scientific expertise and its epistemic authority become more important. On the other hand, the financial interests in research, which could potentially corrupt science, are increasing. Due to these two tendencies, a concern for the integrity of scientific research becomes increasingly vital. This concern is, however, hollow if we do not have a clear account of research integrity. Therefore, it is important that we explicate this concept. Following Rudolf Carnap’s characterization of the task of explication, this means that we should develop a concept that is (1) similar to our common sense notion of research integrity, (2) exact, (3) fruitful, and (4) as simple as possible. Since existing concepts do not meet these four requirements, we develop a new concept in this article. We describe a concept of epistemic integrity that is based on the property of deceptiveness, and argue that this concept does meet Carnap’s four requirements of explication. To illustrate and support our claims we use several examples from scientific practice, mainly from biomedical research.