[Report]The 37th PoP Seminar : Scientific Integrity: Recent Empirical Findings in Scientists’ Questionable Practices

The 37th PoP Seminar:
Policy Platform Seminar Series on Economics of Science and Innovation
Scientific Integrity: Recent Empirical Findings in Scientists’ Questionable Practices

Speaker:Sotaro SHIBAYAMA 
Associate Professor School of Engineering, University of Tokyo / Science, Technology and Innovation Governance Education & Research Program
Time & Date:4:50 – 6:50 pm, Nov 9
Venue:Lecture Room 34, Sch. Eng. Bldg. 3

Scientific integrity and honesty play a critical role in science, but deviation from the norm is increasingly observed in the forms of misconduct and other questionable practices. This seminar overviews the trend of scientists’ misbehavior and presents some recent empirical findings including the speaker’s. The speaker focuses on “dishonest conformity in peer review” — in which authors unwillingly obey referees’ instructions in order to have their papers accepted even if the instructions contradict the author’s scientific belief — and aims to investigate the determinants of dishonesty. Drawing on survey data of Japanese life scientists, the study shows that the conflict between authors and referees in peer review is quite common, under which a majority of scientists follow referees’ instructions rather than to refute them. Results suggest that authors are more likely to follow referees 1) when authors are under stronger scientific competition, 2) in biology than in medicine/agriculture, 3) if authors are associate professors rather than full professors, 4) if authors have no foreign research experience, and 5) in low-impact journals rather than in medium-impact journals. Finally, some policy implications are discussed.

Shibayama, S. & Baba, Y. (2015) Dishonest conformity in peer review. Prometheus (forthcoming).