Assessing the Seriousness of Research Misconduct: Considerations for Sanction Assignment
Accountability in Research 2006 April-June; 13(2): 179-205
Federal and institutional policies recommend the criterion of "seriousness" as a guide for sanction assignment in cases where researchers have been found to have committed research misconduct. Discrepancies in assessments of seriousness for similar acts of misconduct suggest the need to clarify what might be meant by the seriousness of research misconduct and how the criterion can be used to assign sanctions. This essay demonstrates how determinations of seriousness can differ depending on the set of ethical appeals employed and argues that an expanded lexicon for talking about the seriousness of research misconduct would help to promote fairness and consistency in sanction assignment. It concludes with some policy recommendations for those charged with research misconduct sanction assignment and for those who oversee research integrity at institutional levels.
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