Science and Engineering Ethics

, Volume 19, Issue 3, pp 835–850 | Cite as

Relationships Between the Survey of Organizational Research Climate (SORC) and Self-Reported Research Practices

  • A. Lauren Crain
  • Brian C. MartinsonEmail author
  • Carol R. Thrush
Original Paper


The Survey of Organizational Research Climate (SORC) is a validated tool to facilitate promotion of research integrity and research best practices. This work uses the SORC to assess shared and individual perceptions of the research climate in universities and academic departments and relate these perceptions to desirable and undesirable research practices. An anonymous web- and mail-based survey was administered to randomly selected biomedical and social science faculty and postdoctoral fellows in the United States. Respondents reported their perceptions of the research climates at their universities and primary departments, and the frequency with which they engaged in desirable and undesirable research practices. More positive individual perceptions of the research climate in one’s university or department were associated with higher likelihoods of desirable, and lower likelihoods of undesirable, research practices. Shared perceptions of the research climate tended to be similarly predictive of both desirable and undesirable research practices as individuals’ deviations from these shared perceptions. Study results supported the central prediction that more positive SORC-measured perceptions of the research climate were associated with more positive reports of research practices. There were differences with respect to whether shared or individual climate perceptions were related to desirable or undesirable practices but the general pattern of results provide empirical evidence that the SORC is predictive of self-reported research behavior.


Research integrity Organizational climate Misconduct Misbehavior Organizational survey 



The authors wish to acknowledge the excellent work of Shannon Donald in several key aspects contributing to this manuscript including project coordination and sample frame development. This research was supported by Award Number R21-RR025279 from the NIH National Center for Research Resources and the DHHS Office of Research Integrity through the collaborative Research on Research Integrity Program.

Conflict of Interest

The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Center for Research Resources, the National Institutes of Health, or the Office of Research Integrity. There are no conflicts of interest for any of the coauthors of this manuscript.

Ethical Approval

The study protocol was approved by the Regions Hospital Institutional Review Board, the oversight body with responsibility for all research conducted at HealthPartners Institute for Education and Research, and by the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Institutional Review Board.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. Lauren Crain
    • 1
  • Brian C. Martinson
    • 1
    Email author
  • Carol R. Thrush
    • 2
  1. 1.HealthPartners Institute for Education and ResearchMinneapolisUSA
  2. 2.Office of Educational DevelopmentUniversity of Arkansas for Medical SciencesLittle RockUSA

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