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Scientific misbehavior in economics

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  • Necker, Sarah

Abstract

This study reports the results of a survey of professional, mostly academic economists about their research norms and scientific misbehavior. Behavior such as data fabrication or plagiarism are (almost) unanimously rejected and admitted by less than 4% of participants. Research practices that are often considered “questionable,” e.g., strategic behavior while analyzing results or in the publication process, are rejected by at least 60%. Despite their low justifiability, these behaviors are widespread. Ninety-four percent report having engaged in at least one unaccepted research practice. Surveyed economists perceive strong pressure to publish. The level of justifiability assigned to different misdemeanors does not increase with the perception of pressure. However, perceived pressure is found to be positively related to the admission of being involved in several unaccepted research practices. Although the results cannot prove causality, they are consistent with the notion that the “publish or perish” culture motivates researchers to violate research norms.

Suggested Citation

  • Necker, Sarah, 2014. "Scientific misbehavior in economics," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 43(10), pages 1747-1759.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:respol:v:43:y:2014:i:10:p:1747-1759
    DOI: 10.1016/j.respol.2014.05.002
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    17. Koessler, Ann-Kathrin & Page, Lionel & Dulleck, Uwe, 2015. "Promoting pro-social behavior with public statements of good intent," MPRA Paper 80072, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 24 May 2017.
    18. Moshe Justman, 2016. "Economic Research and Education Policy: Project STAR and Class Size Reduction," Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series wp2016n37, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne.
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    20. Altug Yalcintas & Isil Sirin Selcuk, 2016. "Research Ethics Education in Economics," Review of Social Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 74(1), pages 53-74, March.
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    22. Zacharias Maniadis & Fabio Tufano & John A. List, 2017. "To Replicate or Not To Replicate? Exploring Reproducibility in Economics through the Lens of a Model and a Pilot Study," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 127(605), pages 209-235, October.
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    24. Koessler, Ann-Kathrin & Page, Lionel & Dulleck, Uwe, 2018. "Public Statements of Good Conduct Promote Pro-Social Behavior," EconStor Preprints 180669, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics.

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