Differing perceptions concerning research misconduct between China and Flanders: A qualitative study

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

In the field of research integrity, there has been increasing interest in the influence of culture on research misconduct. Yet, there is a lack of empirical study on how differently researchers from distinct cultural backgrounds perceive research misconduct. Hence, we used the qualitative approach to investigate and compare perspectives concerning research misconduct between Chinese and Flemish researchers. By means of 45 interviews we explored their perspectives on types, determinants of, and solutions to research misconduct. Our findings show elements of scientific culture shared by both groups, but also clear dissimilarities. The Chinese participants more often mentioned plagiarism and inappropriate authorship as examples of research misconduct, while Flemish respondents brought up fabrication and falsification. Research misconduct was associated with diverse determinants, though the Chinese favored the "bad apple" theory (more intrinsic), while the Flemish pointed to the "publish or perish" pressure and attributed misconduct to situational aspects (rather extrinsic). Accordingly, they proposed diverse strategies to handle this issue, yet education and training were recommended by both groups. This study confirms that research misconduct is the result of many factors intertwining and interacting, and suggests that cultural traits contribute to our perceptions of research misconduct and subsequent bias in that context.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)63-94
Number of pages32
JournalAccountability in Research: Policies & Quality Assurance
Volume28
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2020

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