Study Finds Older Male Scientists Likelier to Commit Research Fraud01/22/13
TUESDAY, Jan. 22 (HealthDay News) -- Male and older scientists
are more likely than female and younger colleagues to commit
research misconduct, according to a new study.
Researchers analyzed data from the U.S. Office of Research
Integrity, which investigates allegations of misconduct in research
funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Misconduct includes violations such as fabrication, falsification
Of about 230 people who committed scientific misconduct between
1994 and 2012, 66 percent were men. The disparity in research
misconduct between men and women was highest among senior
scientists, according to the study, which was published Jan. 22 in
the online journal
"Not only are men committing more research misconduct, senior men are most likely to do so," study co-author Joan Bennett, of Rutgers University in New Jersey, said in a journal news release.
A combination of social, cultural and biological factors may
explain why male scientists are more likely to commit misconduct
than female colleagues, the study authors said.
The researchers said they were surprised that the misconduct was
not confined mostly to younger scientists trying to make a name for
"When you look at the numbers, you see that the problem of misconduct carries through the entire career of scientists," study co-author Arturo Casadevall, of Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City, said in the news release. "Faculty (32 percent) and other research personnel (28 percent) represented a total of 60 percent of cases, whereas students (16 percent) and postdoctoral fellows (25 percent) were sanctioned in only 41 percent of cases."
The "winner-take-all" reward system and the pressure to find
research funding are among the reasons scientists commit
misconduct, and also why many women get out of research, Bennett
"Many women are totally turned off by the maneuverings and starkly competitive way of the academic workplace," she said. "Cheating on the system is just one of many factors that induce women to leave academia and seek professional careers in other environments."
The U.S. National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
Research Ethics Timeline.
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