Academic Misconduct, Misrepresentation and Gaming: A Reassessment
Forthcoming in Research Policy
51 Pages Posted: 19 Nov 2018
Date Written: November 9, 2018
The motivation for this Special Issue is increasing concern not only with academic misconduct but also with less easily defined forms of misrepresentation and gaming. In an era of intense emphasis on measuring academic performance, there has been a proliferation of scandals, questionable behaviors and devious stratagems involving not just individuals but also organizations, including universities, editors and reviewers, journal publishers, and conference organizers. This introduction first reviews the literature on the prevalence of academic misconduct, misrepresentation and gaming (MMG). The core of the article is organized around a life-cycle model of the production and dissemination of research results. We synthesize the findings in the MMG literature at the level of the investigator or research team, emphasizing that misbehavior extends well beyond fabrication and falsification to include behaviors designed to exaggerate or to mislead readers as to the significance of research findings. MMG is next explored in the post-research review, publication, and post-publication realms. Moving from the individual researcher to the organizational level, we examine how MMG can be engaged in by either journals or organizations employing or funding the researchers. The changing institutional environment including the growth of research assessment exercises, increased quantitative output measurement and greater pressure to publish may all encourage MMG. In the final section, we summarize the main conclusions and offer suggestions both on how we might best address the problems and on topics for future research.
Keywords: academic misconduct, research fraud, academic misrepresentation, gaming, predatory journals, pseudo conferences
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