This research presents the results of a survey regarding scientific misconduct and questionable research practices elicited from a sample of 1215 management researchers. We find that misconduct (research that was either fabricated or falsified) is not encountered often by reviewers nor editors. Yet, there is a strong prevalence of misrepresentations (method inadequacy, omission or withholding of contradictory results, dropping of unsupported hypotheses). When it comes to potential methodological improvements, those that are skeptical about the empirical body of work being published see merit in replication studies. Yet, a sizeable majority of editors and authors eschew open data policies, which points to hidden costs and limited incentives for data sharing in management research.
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An August 2017 search of the Web of Science for articles with the term “replication” in the title found only 125 articles in journals included in the FT 45 journal list.
Not all replication studies in the SMJ special issue draw findings similar to those of the original work. Tsang and Yamanoi (2016) point out inconsistencies in hypothesis development along with a lack of generalizability based on a sample from Barkema and Vermeulen’s (1998) study. Park et al. (2016) fail to replicate the major findings of three studies they sought to replicate.
As the questionnaire design and analysis took place outside of the US, no university institutional review board has been involved in the oversight of this research. The US-based co-author was not involved in data collection and had no access to identifiable data.
In 2016, the FT 45 added five journals to become the FT 50.
To reflect on the other side of the process, we also asked journal editors whether manuscripts should contain statistically significant results. This question bases on the work of Devaney (2001). Of the 191 respondents to this question, 131 responded that yes, manuscripts should indeed contain significant results. This, in part, may relate to the perceptions of authors/reviewers here.
One question (following Devaney 2001), which addressed those with editorial responsibilities only, asked whether replication studies were appropriate for publication. An overwhelming majority of editors, 84%, responded that these types of studies were appropriate.
Respondents received the link to the journal list to corroborate that the journals they had published in appeared on the list in the study.
When it comes to differences across the groups, three out of four editors report at least one FT 45 publication, with one third of editors having more than five FT 45 publications. For those in non-editor roles, more than 40% report zero FT 45 publications. Among those reviewing for FT 45 journals 82% report at least one FT 45 publication; 20% have more than five FT 45 publications, while two out of three of those not reviewing for FT 45 journals report zero FT 45 publications.
Though, in some instances, replication has helped to identify fraudulent behavior, as evidenced in Broockman et al. (2015).
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Hopp, C., Hoover, G.A. What Crisis? Management Researchers’ Experiences with and Views of Scholarly Misconduct. Sci Eng Ethics 25, 1549–1588 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11948-018-0079-4
- Scientific misconduct
- Data fabrication
- Data misrepresentation