Questions tagged [research-misconduct]

On distortion of the research and/or research publication process through dishonest or otherwise unethical behavior. Includes (but is not limited to) issues such as fabrication, falsification, plagiarism, violation of ethical standards related to human subjects research, and theft of intellectual property.

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166
votes
8answers
34k views

Grant fraud, should I bust my PhD advisor?

tl;dr: Should I report this large grant fraud, and what consequences could it have for me? For obvious reasons, I will try to maintain some anonymity here. So I defended my thesis. Which was funded ...
145
votes
6answers
22k views

My professor is rigging data and plagiarizing. What can I do?

I am a graduate student. My department head is manipulating data in his research papers and skillfully alters plagiarized text to avoid detection. I found this out while working with him on a journal ...
118
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8answers
10k views

How to argue against questionable research practices such as P-hacking and Harking?

I have come into conflict with co-authors when being asked to do things that I consider to be questionable. Once I was told to try every possible specification of a dependent variable (count, ...
100
votes
12answers
27k views

One of my student researchers is likely falsifying some results/data. What are the consequences?

Relevant info and background: I'm an engineering Post Doc at an American university. One of my roles is to basically function as a 'project manager' for a couple projects that have a number of ...
64
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5answers
11k views

What should raise red flags to detect fabricated data

In academia, there has been recently some cases that came to light of very well known scientists that have fabricated their data out of thin air. In some instances these papers have been cited many ...
63
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13answers
12k views

How to handle one's own academic misconduct, long after it occurred?

I got my PhD in data engineering in 2014 from a reputed university in a developed country. I am now an associate professor in a well-reputed university. Between my PhD and my current position, I took ...
60
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11answers
17k views

Is this violation of academic integrity if I ask a question on Github public repository and post it as an issue?

Recently, I asked a question on a public Github repository about a formula that is used in the code that is hosted on that public repository. Basically, if you are familiar with Github, you can create ...
60
votes
2answers
7k views

Researchers had a paper retracted due to plagiarism and no one at their university is aware of it

A year ago a professor at my department and her grad student had plagiarized a journal paper and published it. The paper was retracted, and the journal published a clear notice that it was due to ...
59
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2answers
16k views

My friend listed my name as a co-author on two journal papers without my permission

Recently, I found that my friend published two journal papers. He listed my name as a co-author without my permission. He used to send me a draft of the 1st paper, and wanted to add me as a co-...
57
votes
9answers
18k views

My PhD advisor sent me a plagiarized draft

While working on a paper, my PhD advisor (at a prestigious school, if that matters) sent revisions that included three pages plagiarized from a book. Thankfully I caught this before the paper was ...
56
votes
6answers
12k views

If someone conducts unethical research unbeknownst to anybody, but produces positive results, what would happen to the research once discovered?

I was just wondering about this specific scenario. Say someone was researching nature vs. nurture, but his experiments involved keeping babies in a controlled environment for the first 10 years of ...
55
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9answers
12k views

Is there such a thing as fraud in mathematics?

Can you commit fraud in a mathematics publication? Or is this a privilege of empirical sciences? If a mathematician jumps from one bit of information to another that does not follow logically, from ...
54
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5answers
17k views

Does having an article retracted due to professor's ethical misconduct mean my career is over?

When I was in my first year of M.Sc. a professor told me to work on a project for which the main data belonged to him. He had sent me an early draft and told me to translate it into English, so I did ...
49
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7answers
13k views

I have a strong suspicion and weak proof that the data in the paper are fake. What to do?

I reviewed a paper submitted for a smallish magazine. It presented an algorithm to perform some allocation task and compared its performance to that of several other algorithms from the literature ...
47
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5answers
7k views

What to do if I am on a hiring committee and I am aware that a candidate has exhibited unethical behavior in his previous position?

After a series of unethical incidents that affected me directly in my previous academic institution, I managed to move to a higher ranked department in my field about seven years ago. I am now in the ...
46
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2answers
4k views

What procedures should I follow if my preprint is stolen and published in a journal?

I am surprised by the fact that a journal published an article that I have had in arXiv for a few months. The date of publication is after the date that I posted on arXiv. The submission date in the ...
45
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5answers
9k views

What is it called when authors trade citations?

Citation is one metric of researchers. That is why some of them lend citation to one another. For example, A writes a paper and cites B's work in it, and then B does the same for A, without the ...
39
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9answers
17k views

What should PhD students do if they submit a paper to two journals and a reviewer notices concurrent submission?

I am in a desperate situation. I made a mistake and committed academic misconduct. I have submitted my article to two journals in parallel, let's say in j1 and j2. Once I received acceptance from ...
39
votes
1answer
7k views

I've found what appears to be a fake paper in a non predatory journal

I received a paper for review from MathReviews (so, not an actual peer review). It is from a journal with Q2 classification according to Scimago, so I expect it to not be a predatory journal, ...
38
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6answers
13k views

Who is responsible for detecting plagiarism in a PhD thesis?

Background I am asking this question in the context of the long running plagiarism scandal in Germany.The most prominent victim of the scandal of plagiarized doctoral dissertations by politicians was ...
38
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7answers
4k views

How to approach PhD admissions after leaving previous PhD because my advisor tried to force me to manipulate data

I started my PhD in one of the very well renowned institutes in Germany. Unfortunately, in the middle I was forced very much to manipulate the data. I was extremely upset and did not know what to do. ...
35
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4answers
5k views

Is there any research on the prevalence of academic theft?

Some ­— perhaps many — academics seem to be very careful in keeping unpublished work secret. It is not difficult to find anecdotes where academic ideas are stolen, such as in this post by @Markus. ...
34
votes
2answers
6k views

What is the best way to publicize the existence of a fraudulent journal?

Earlier this year, I was anonymously informed of the existence of a fraudulent journal, Reactive Oxygen Species. When I investigated, I found that the "Editorial Team" of "international experts" ...
33
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4answers
5k views

How can an author get assurance that his work will not be stolen by journal staff or reviewers?

Suppose some author provides his original research article to a journal for publication. In this way, he is disclosing or revealing his confidential research work to that journal. Now, consider the ...
30
votes
1answer
3k views

My code is published as original work by a different group. What should I do?

I've found some code that I've posted online that has a BSD license published in a supplementary material of a different group in a high impact journal. The authors have replaced the name on the ...
29
votes
3answers
7k views

How often are results faked in computer science papers?

Especially in the the more experimental subfields of computer science like systems, how often are results faked? If there is no verification process for any code used, do researchers sometimes fake ...
29
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1answer
1k views

What can I do if I wrote a grant proposal with a professor, and now that it is funded he refuses to hire me?

I discussed my ideas with a professor at a university here in China, where I live. He said that I should write a grant proposal and he will submit it, and if he gets a grant he will hire me (as a ...
28
votes
4answers
4k views

What should I do when images in a publication appear to have been faked?

I just came across a paper published in a journal (IF < 2), which has used a couple of images without mentioning the source. This itself is not necessarily a problem. But they seem to be from a ...
28
votes
1answer
6k views

My human subjects research is "exempt" under US regulations. Does that mean I can skip ethics review?

This question was inspired by some wrong information on this site. Human subjects research usually requires review by an ethics committee (IRB). Some research is "exempt" under US law. If my ...
27
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5answers
4k views

How to prevent plagiarism of my papers?

I have recently discovered that several of my papers have been plagiarized in order to create one paper, and that this paper has been published at a conference. I informed the organizers of the ...
26
votes
7answers
6k views

How to prove episodes of academic misconduct?

My former PhD supervisor asked me different times to produce false results, including complete fabrication from scratch of otherwise non-existent results. I always managed to get away from that and I ...
26
votes
6answers
6k views

How can editors and reviewers detect data manipulation?

I am preparing a paper in the field of Computer Science. In order to report test results, we usually run a number of tests and report the average of those tests. For each test, we generate random ...
26
votes
5answers
17k views

What are the criteria for degree revocation?

I was awarded a degree from a reputable college or university. For what reasons could my degree be revoked after the fact? Should I be worried? Note to readers: This is a special community wiki '...
24
votes
6answers
4k views

Reviewing article and bad-faith citation

I did my PhD topic in mechanical engineering. A decade later, I agreed to review an article on the exact same topic, that has a great number of similarities with mine. OK, that can happen. The authors ...
23
votes
7answers
7k views

Plagiarism and exclusion from a master's program?

I am an EU student studying for my MBA in Germany. I have been a top student throughout the year. However, my thesis (24% supposedly plagiarized text) and the last two assignments (55% and 56%) have ...
21
votes
4answers
2k views

Is it ok to get independent feedback before handing in thesis?

I have a thesis to hand in at my university. Am I allowed to ask a grad student who is an expert in my field to have a look at my thesis and give me feedback (more than merely grammatical / ...
21
votes
1answer
2k views

How can I stop a "citation cartel" still active?

How can I fight against a "citation cartel" (still active)? They are manipulating citations (mostly through "coercive citation") from at least two journals. Two journal are used as "platforms" and two ...
20
votes
2answers
5k views

Miscited in a bachelor thesis

I recently discovered, to my delighted surprise, that my bachelor thesis had been cited in another bachelor thesis - however... my bachelor thesis has been entered in the reference list as an PhD ...
20
votes
3answers
4k views

Should one cite unethical research that may contradict one's current research?

Most people are familiar with the controversy over citing Nazi medical experimentation and related unethical findings. I'm not questioning that. Assuming that citing unethical research in order to ...
20
votes
3answers
790 views

What is the principal investigator’s responsibility regarding data authenticity?

Every now and then, you hear stories of data being fabricated by a graduate student (or post-doc) who felt the pressure to publish groundbreaking results was too much. This unethical behavior makes me ...
20
votes
3answers
786 views

Can intentionally omitting related work (citations) be considered as misconduct?

I've seen a recent journal paper that presents a solution to a problem, and it in the introduction it has a statement that the problem has not been solved yet. That wouldn’t be very strange if I didn’...
19
votes
4answers
6k views

Found and corrected a mistake on someone's else paper -- praxis?

3-4 months ago I found a big mistake in a theorem's proof of a paper that had just been published (stats/cs community). I immediately notified the authors, who claimed to be aware of the mistake but ...
18
votes
2answers
3k views

How do I referee a paper when the authors may be behaving dishonestly?

This is a follow-up to this question: Should I recommend rejection for a paper I referee if the authors don't make changes that they could have made? To recap: I was sent a paper to referee by ...
18
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5answers
3k views

Are P-hacking and hypothesising after results are known considered misconduct in academia?

This question is inspired by a comment to another question where I asked for help on how to argue against P-hacking and hypothesising after results are known (Harking). Someone questioned the ...
18
votes
3answers
696 views

Do we know what proportion of scientific reproducibility issues are fraud-related?

A few days ago there was an article on the LSE blog about scientific reproducibility which made little sense to me until I realised they were equating 'low reproducibility' with 'scientific fraud': ...
17
votes
4answers
8k views

What should I do if I think a researcher in my university is intentionally employing incompetent people?

In our university there are a lot of great researchers and a very competent people in general. I've discovered today that one of our researchers is intentionally employing people who are totally ...
15
votes
1answer
872 views

Should I breach peer-review confidentiality if I suspect misconduct and the editor is not willing to pursue it?

I was a peer reviewer for a paper that I did not find credible. The data were archived after the paper was published and show many curious or impossible (non-integer counts for example) patterns. I ...
14
votes
4answers
3k views

Are you allowed to do scientific research on a mental disorder, if you have said mental disorder, and it is not registered in the DSM-5?

I have symptoms of a mental health disorder not registered in the DSM-5 called 'maladaptive daydreaming disorder'. In order for this to be able to get into the DSM-5, more research needs to be done on ...
14
votes
4answers
1k views

Are there academic institution-specific equivalents to attorneys (a professional who assists in navigating conduct and justice systems)?

There's an interesting question over at Law.SE on the possibility of suing a university over what the OP saw as unfair disciplinary practices. I have often wondered... Is there a type of professional ...
14
votes
1answer
2k views

Co-author submitted new data post-review without my (first author) consent

I am the first author of a manuscript that was recently "accepted in principle". The submission, peer review and revisions of this manuscript happened after I left the laboratory of the corresponding ...