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Guilt by Association: How Scientific Misconduct Harms Prior Collaborators

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Listed:
  • Katrin Hussinger

    () (CREA, Université du Luxembourg)

  • Maikel Pellens

    () (Centre for European Economic Research (ZEW), Mannheim)

Abstract

Recent highly publicized cases of scientific misconduct have raised concerns about its consequences for academic careers. Previous and anecdotal evidence suggests that these reach far beyond the fraudulent scientist and (his or) her career, affecting coauthors and institutions. Here we show that the negative effects of scientific misconduct spill over to uninvolved prior collaborators: compared to a control group, prior collaborators of misconducting scientists, who have no connection to the misconduct case, are cited 8 to 9% less often afterwards. We suggest that the mechanism underlying this phenomenon is stigmatization by mere association. The result suggests that scientific misconduct generates large indirect costs in the form of mistrust towards a wider range of research findings than was previously assumed. The far-reaching fallout of misconduct implies that potential whistleblowers might be disinclined to make their concerns public in order to protect their own reputation and career.

Suggested Citation

  • Katrin Hussinger & Maikel Pellens, 2018. "Guilt by Association: How Scientific Misconduct Harms Prior Collaborators," CREA Discussion Paper Series 18-15, Center for Research in Economic Analysis, University of Luxembourg.
  • Handle: RePEc:luc:wpaper:18-15
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. March, Raymond J. & Geloso, Vincent, 2020. "Gordon Tullock meets Phineas Gage: The political economy of lobotomies in the United States," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 49(1).
    2. Mohan, Vijay, 2019. "On the use of blockchain-based mechanisms to tackle academic misconduct," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 48(9), pages 1-1.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    scientific misconduct; prior collaborators; stigma;

    JEL classification:

    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes

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