Academic Whistleblowing

  • M. V. Dougherty
Part of the Research Ethics Forum book series (REFF, volume 6)


Despite the essential role that academic whistleblowers serve in initiating the oftentimes lengthy process of correcting the scholarly record, individuals who disclose evidence of suspected plagiarism are often subject to considerable backlash. To be sure, the evidence they provide, even when impeccable, can create a significant workload of verification for editors and publishers, as well as for research integrity officers at the institutional homes of the suspected plagiarists. I examine the benefits and hazards of multi-targeted whistleblowing and discuss the harassment and witness intimidation typically experienced by those who blow the academic whistle in good faith. The increasing awareness among researchers and institutional authorities that to harass whistleblowers is itself a form of misconduct reflects an important recent shift in academic culture. On the other hand, academic whistleblowers in recent times have been described as post-publication vigilantes for their efforts in securing corrections of the scholarly record, so the professional dangers of academic whistleblowing should not be understated.


Whistleblowing Retaliation Harassment Reprisals 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. V. Dougherty
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyOhio Dominican UniversityColumbusUSA

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