Related: Miscited in a bachelor thesis
In the above question, the OP mentions that,
...my bachelor thesis had been cited....I have been attributed a conclusion that I haven't drawn, and is indeed counter-indicated by the data I've collected.
Most people are familiar with ordinary plagiarism, where a writer will fail to cite a source for something that actually came from that source. What kind of a violation occurs if a researcher cites a source that says something other than what they claim it does, especially if done inadvertently? For example, suppose Smith (2003) found that "By applying Woot's Theorem to the equation above, we see that the area under the curve is bounded by n to the x where p>3". I, in a rush to get my paper out, mistakenly say, "Smith (2003) found that the area under the curve is always bounded.", not realizing that it had been qualified with the "p>3" condition and that the area might not be bounded in cases where p<=3.
Is this research misconduct or simply sloppy scholarship? That is, if a researcher is "caught" doing this, is the maximum penalty generally article rejection and/or a lowered course grade, or is this a grave mark against the researcher's future career in the same way a founded accusation of plagiarism or falsifying data would be?
My instinct tells me that intent must play a big part in this, and that inadvertent mistakes are simply poor scholarship while an intentional mis-cite ("I'm too lazy to find a real source for this, so I'll just claim that Stephen Hawking said it.") constitutes some type of plagiarism, but most definitions of plagiarism that I have encountered emphasize that intent is not an element, i.e. "Oops, I forgot to cite that" is as much plagiarism as intentionally printing out a copy of a Wikipedia article and submitting it as your thesis.
If this is misconduct, but not plagiarism, what specific kind of misconduct is it? Falsification of data would also seem to not apply, since a citation is not data, and a reader can more easily verify the correctness of a citation than they can verify that the data you claim to have collected in the field was actually collected by you under the conditions that you claim.