Social Costs of Non-Responsible Research

  • Sylvie Faucheux
  • Caroline Gans Combe
  • Catherine Kuszla
  • Martin O’Connor


This chapter addresses a double set of issues: (1) research misconduct of persons and organisations directly engaged in the practice of scientific research and (2) responsible research, meaning activities of discovery and innovation respectful of wider societal values. These two topics are clearly intertwined; but they are not the same. Drawing on results of the European DEFORM Project, we clarify the distinction between, and the inter-relations of, these two concepts. To highlight misconduct relative to “internal” standards of good science, we look at the phenomenon of research fraud. Then we turn to the call for responsible innovation relative to contemporary ecological and societal challenges of sustainability. Although two domains engage distinct considerations of integrity and responsibility in society, we can link them with a broad vision of “social costs” provoked by non-responsible research, thus providing a unified framework for addressing quality assurance for science in society.


DEFORM Project Fraud Governance Knowledge quality assessment Research misconduct Responsible innovation Social costs Sustainability 


  1. Barré, R. (2011). Des concepts à la pratique de l’innovation responsable: à propos d’un séminaire franco-britannique. Natures Sciences Sociétés, 19(4), 405–409.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Benessia, A., & Funtowicz, S. (2015). Sustainability and Techno-science: What Do We Want to Sustain and for Whom? International Journal of Sustainable Development, 18(4), 329–348.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Douguet, J.-M., & O’Connor, M. (2019, forthcoming). Publicly Accountable Dialogue and Deliberation: Building Integrity Around the Question of Quality in Knowledge? IJSD Special Issue on Integrity and Quality in Science. International Journal of Sustainable Development, 22.Google Scholar
  4. DuBois, J. M., Anderson, E. E., Chibnall, J., Carroll, K., Gibb, T., Ogbuka, C., & Rubbelke, T. (2013). Understanding Research Misconduct: A Comparative Analysis of 120 Cases of Professional Wrongdoing. Accountability in Research, 20(5–6), 320–338.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. European Science Foundation. (2011, March). The European Code of Conduct for Research Integrity. ISBN: 978-2-918428-37-4.Google Scholar
  6. Fanelli, D. (2009). How Many Scientists Fabricate and Falsify Research? A Systematic Review and Metaanalysis of Survey Data. PLoS One, 4(5), e5738.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Faucheux, S., & Hue, C. (2000). Politique environnementale et politique technologique: vers une prospective concertative. Natures Sciences Sociétés, 8(3), 31–44.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Faucheux, S., & Hue, C. (2001). From Irreversibility to Participation: Towards a Participatory Foresight for the Governance of Collective Environmental Risks. Journal of Hazardous Materials, 86, 223–243.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Faucheux, S., & Nicolaï, I. (2004). La responsabilité sociétale dans la construction d’indicateurs: l’expérience de l’industrie européenne de l’aluminium. Natures Sciences Sociétés, 12(1), 30–41.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Faucheux, S., & O’Connor, M. (2000). Technosphère versus Ecosphère: quel arbitrage ? Choix technologiques et menaces environnementales, signaux faibles, controverses et décision. Futuribles, 251, 29–59.Google Scholar
  11. Frame, B., & O’Connor, M. (2010). Integrating Valuation and Deliberation: The Purposes of Sustainability Assessment. Environmental Science and Policy, 14(1), 1–10. January 2011.Google Scholar
  12. Friedrichs, D. O. (2010). Trusted Criminals: White Collar Crime in Contemporary Society (4th ed.). Belmont: Wadsworth Cengage Learning. 496pp.Google Scholar
  13. Funtowicz, S., & Ravetz, J. (1990). Uncertainty and Quality in Science for Policy. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Gallopin, G., Funtowicz, S., O’Coonor, M., & Ravetz, J. (2001). Science for the 21st Century: From Social Contract to the Scientific Core. International Journal of Social Science, 168, 209–229.Google Scholar
  15. Gans Combe, C., Faucheux, S., & Kuszla, C. (2019, forthcoming). The Societal Costs of Research Misconduct: Some Method Considerations from the DEFORM Project. IJSD Special Issue on Integrity and Quality in Science, International Journal of Sustainable Development, 22.Google Scholar
  16. Gee, J., & Button, M. (2015). The Financial Cost of Fraud. London: PKF Littlejohn.Google Scholar
  17. Hesselmann, F., Wienefoet, V., & Reinhart, M. (2014). Measuring Scientific Misconduct – Lessons from Criminology. Publications, 2, 61–70.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Kuszla, C. (2019, forthcoming). Organisation & Governance of Research. IJSD Special Issue on Integrity and Quality in Science, International Journal of Sustainable Development, 22.Google Scholar
  19. Merton, R. K. (1973/1942). The Sociology of Science: Theoretical and Empirical Investigations. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 605 pp.Google Scholar
  20. O’Connor, M., & Spangenberg, J. (2007). A Methodology for CSR Reporting: Assuring a Representative Diversity of Indicators Across Stakeholders, Scales, Sites and Performance Issues. Journal of Cleaner Production, 16(13), 1399–1415.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. O’Connor, M., Gans Combe, C., Faucheux, S., & Petousi, V. (2018). Responsibility within Without: The Challenges of Misconduct and Quality Assurance in Scientific Research. Revue Française d’Administration Publique, 166.Google Scholar
  22. Owen, R., & Goldberg, N. (2010). Responsible Innovation: A Pilot Study with the U.K. Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council. Risk Analysis, 30, 1699–1707.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Petousi, V., & Sifaki, E. (2019, forthcoming). Narratives and Discourses about the Causality of Research Misconduct: An Interdisciplinary Perspective. IJSD Special Issue on Integrity and Quality in Science, International Journal of Sustainable Development, 22.Google Scholar
  24. Power, M. (2013). The Apparatus of Fraud Risk. Accounting, Organizations and Society, 38, 525–543.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Ravetz, J. (1971). Scientific Knowledge and its Social Problems (449pp). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  26. Saltelli, A. (Ed.). (2016). The Rightful Place of Science: Science on the Verge. Tempe: Published by The Consortium for Science, Policy and Outcomes, Arizona State University.Google Scholar
  27. Taebi, B., Correlie, A., Cuppen, E., Dignum, M., & Pesch, U. (2014). Responsible Innovation as an Endorsement of Public Values: The Need for Interdisciplinary Research. Journal of Responsible Innovation, 1(1), 118–124.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. The Lancet (2015). Editorial. Rewarding True Inquiry and Diligence in Research, 385, p. 2121.Google Scholar
  29. Titus, S. L., Wells, J. A., & Rhoades, L. J. (2008). Repairing Research Integrity. Nature, 453, 980–982.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Van Den Hoven, J. (2015). Value Sensitive Design and Responsible Innovation. In P. Kawalec & R. P. Wierzchoslawski (Eds.), Social Responsibility and Science in Innovation Economy. Lublin: Learned Society of KUL.Google Scholar
  31. Von Schomberg, R. (2011). Prospects for Technology Assessment in a Framework of Responsible Research and Innovation. In M. Dusseldorp & R. Beecroft (Eds.), Technikfolgen abschätzen lehren: Bildungspotenziale (pp. 39–64). Wiesbaden: Springer-Verlag.Google Scholar
  32. Wilsdon, J., Stilgoe, J., & Wynne, B. (2005). The Public Value of Science: Or How to Ensure that Science Really Matters (67pp). London: DEMOS.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sylvie Faucheux
    • 1
  • Caroline Gans Combe
    • 2
  • Catherine Kuszla
    • 3
  • Martin O’Connor
    • 4
  1. 1.Inseec U ParisParisFrance
  2. 2.ReihooParisFrance
  3. 3.University of Paris NanterreParisFrance
  4. 4.University of Paris SaclayParisFrance

Personalised recommendations