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Good practices

The most common types of misconduct

Good practices

Michael Reisig, a professor of criminology at the University of Arizona, USA, interviewed 613 researchers from 100 major American universities and asked them which types of scientific misconduct they believe occur most frequently in academia. Of the 26 responses available, data fabrication was the least chosen, while gift authorship was perceived as the most prevalent by scientists. The latter encompasses various ways of crediting authors who did not actually contribute to an article. Young researchers, for example, often include the name of experienced colleagues to increase the chances of a paper being accepted for publication and cited—or in exchange for career advantages. Scientists also sometimes include the names of former colleagues who did not participate in the article in question, to maintain a good relationship or in return for other academic benefits.

Other types of misconduct frequently mentioned included ordering the authors list in a way that does not represent their actual contribution to the scientific paper, using research funding to pay people not directly involved in the project, applying to funding agencies for research that has already been carried out, or asking for research funds to attend a conference, but not actually attending or actively participating. The study was published in the journal Accountability in Research.