How do researchers perceive research misbehaviors? A transcultural case study of Chinese and Flemish researchers

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China has achieved a dramatic development in scientific research over the last few decades. However, just like many other countries, it has also seen a surge of scientific misconducts. With its expansion of international publications, retractions due to suspected research misconduct are also on the rise. A transcultural case study was conducted by investigating the perception of research misbehaviors by Chinese researchers compared to their Belgian Flemish colleagues. The study was designed to find out variation in research practices in different countries and to see how research was shaped and influenced by cultural contexts. An online questionnaire was sent to 3,236 researchers by e-mails and it received a response rate of 13.09%. They were asked to score 32 research misbehaviors on a 5-point scale. The findings suggested that compared to Flemish respondents, the Chinese had a significantly higher acceptance toward most research misbehaviors. To be more specific, the Chinese respondents felt less unacceptable toward behaviors violating such values as honesty, fairness, and verifiability than the Flemish, while their perceptions of behaviors that violated such values as responsibility, objectivity, and truth were not different compared to the Flemish. This case study implies that the Chinese research community is in an urgent need of training in responsible conduct of research and strong as well as sound guidelines for responsible research practices in place.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)350-369
Number of pages20
JournalAccountability in Research: Policies & Quality Assurance
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 18 Aug 2018


  • FFP
  • perception of research misbehavior
  • QRP
  • research cultures
  • research integrity
  • transcultural study


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