The Role of Culture in Research Misconduct
Davis, Mark S.
Accountability in Research 2003 July-September; 10(3): 189-201
There seems to be a taboo against discussing the role culture or national origin might play in research misconduct. Still, some observers wonder why so many scientists representing foreign cultures are among those found guilty of misconduct. Even after examining the scant available data, whether foreign nationals are disproportionately represented among Office of Research Integrity (ORI) respondents remains unclear. The lack of data, however, does not negate culture as a possible explanatory variable in research misconduct. Applying theories from sociological criminology, the author posits that the culture some researchers bring may be at odds with the norms of academic science and may emphasize ends more than means. As such, culture simply may be one of several etiological factors in research misconduct and should be considered in the spirit of objective scientific inquiry. Acknowledging the role of culture in the adherence to research ethics underscores the importance of education and training of both researchers and administrators in the responsible conduct of research and cultural diversity.
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