Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=1996631
 
 

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Measuring the Prevalence of Questionable Research Practices with Incentives for Truth-Telling


Leslie K. John


Harvard Business School

George Loewenstein


Carnegie Mellon University - Department of Social and Decision Sciences

Drazen Prelec


MIT Sloan; MIT Department of Economics; MIT Brain and Cognitive Sciences

January 31, 2012

Psychological Science, Forthcoming

Abstract:     
Cases of clear scientific misconduct have received significant media attention recently, but less flagrantly questionable research practices may be more prevalent and, ultimately, more damaging to the academic enterprise. Using an anonymous elicitation format supplemented by incentives for honest reporting, we surveyed over 2,000 psychologists about their involvement in questionable research practices. The impact of truth-telling incentives on self-admissions of questionable research practices was positive, and this impact was greater for practices that respondents judged to be less defensible. Combining three different estimation methods, we found that the percentage of respondents who
have engaged in questionable practices was surprisingly high. This finding suggests that some questionable practices may constitute the prevailing research norm.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 52

Keywords: Judgment, Professional standards, Research methods

JEL Classification: A00

working papers series


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Date posted: February 1, 2012 ; Last revised: July 21, 2012

Suggested Citation

John, Leslie K. and Loewenstein, George and Prelec, Drazen, Measuring the Prevalence of Questionable Research Practices with Incentives for Truth-Telling (January 31, 2012). Psychological Science, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1996631 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1996631

Contact Information

Leslie K. John (Contact Author)
Harvard Business School ( email )
Soldiers Field Road
Morgan 270C
Boston, MA 02163
United States
George F. Loewenstein
Carnegie Mellon University - Department of Social and Decision Sciences ( email )
Pittsburgh, PA 15213-3890
United States
412-268-8787 (Phone)
412-268-6938 (Fax)
Drazen Prelec
MIT Sloan ( email )
E40-161
MIT
Cambridge, MA 02142
United States
617-253-2833 (Phone)
MIT Department of Economics ( email )
Department of Economics
E52-371
Cambridge, MA 02142
United States
MIT Brain and Cognitive Sciences ( email )
43 Vassar Street
Cambridge, MA 02139
United States
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