Research Integrity: Additional resources

Research integrity in the news around the world


This page provides a quick look into the complex world of research integrity through links to recent stories.

The stories are organized chronologically, starting with the most recent. For each, we have highlighted a key issue or question and provided information on the main topic and relevant field of study. We recommend that, before beginning the Research Integrity course in earnest, you browse through some of the links below to gain an insight into some of the real problems researchers face.

Please note that articles marked with an asterisk (*) may be accessible only to those with subscriptions to the relevant journal.

This page is updated regularly: you may wish to bookmark the URL in your browser ( If you have come across a recent story in your subject area that you would like to share, do contact us and we will include it in the next update of this page.

Issue 2: July 2013

Case study
Article details and link Comment/reflective question Research Integrity area Subject area

The Leonard Lopate Show: Plagiarism in Scholarly and Medical Journals.
L. Leonard. WNYC, January 19, 2012

Plagiarism in academic research is not a well-kept secret. Stories about plagiarism frequently appear in newspapers and even on the radio. Listen to one program aired by WNYC in 2012, explaining to the public the problems that exist and ways to address them. If your friends and relatives had listened to this program and asked you about plagiarism in research, how would you respond? (If you want to listen to the complete song that opens this program, go to:



Scientist who lied to obtain Heartland documents faces fight to save job
S. Goldenberg. The Guardian, February 22, 2012

What happens when researchers mix personal and professional activities? Should the researcher in this story have been professionally penalized for using questionable tactics to achieve political ends? Why? or Why not?


Natural and physical sciences

When Researchers Cheat (Just a Little).
K. Johnston. Harvard Business School, Working Knowledge, February 27, 2012

Can you trust researchers who sometimes bend or break rules to tell you the truth about their behavior? If you cannot, then is it possible come up with accurate assessments of the prevalence of misbehavior and misconduct in research? This article describes a way to come with accurate assessments of research misbehavior. Do you think the method proposed would prompt you to report your own behavior more or less honestly?

Questionable practices

Social science

Penn Clears Two Faculty Psychiatrists of Research Misconduct Charges.
J. Kaiser. Science Insider, March 2, 2012

Should researchers list the names of "ghost writers" on publications? What is the difference between a "real author" and a "ghost author"? Check this further link for more information from the complainant's point of view. (

Research misconduct


A New Record for Retractions.
D. Normile. Science Insider, April 11, 2012

Research is supposed to be self-regulating. How can 193 publications tainted by research misconduct make it through the publication process? What impact do cases such as this have on all researchers and what are the costs?



Replication Studies: Bad Copy: Nature News & Comment.
E. Yong. Nature, May 17, 2012

Is it true that "most published research findings are false"? Some researchers have gathered evidence that raises serious questions about the reliability of many published articles. Do these findings apply to your field of research? What can be done to improve the reliability of research?



*Scientific misconduct: more cops, more robbers?
C. Macilwain. Cell, June 22, 2012

This brief summary of the current state of misconduct definitions and policies describes the current situation as an "arms" race. Is this an appropriate analogy? Is there any way to end an arms race? For more from author Macilwain, see also his comment in Nature:



Harvard University probes plagiarism outbreak involving 125 students.
P. Harris. The Guardian, August 30, 2012

What should be done when more than 125 students apparently cheated on an assignment? Does the fact that misconduct may be fairly common at the college or undergraduate level have any bearing on the behavior of graduate students, postdocs and researchers? Where should training and policing for responsible conduct in research begin?



World Science Academies Release Report to Promote Research Integrity.
IAP. IAP, October 17, 2012

The InterAcademies Council, representing the world's academies of science, recently joined global efforts to define best practices and promote integrity in research. This story summarizes the IAP effort. You can access the full report at: Is there anything unique or different about this report? Does its importance lie primarily in the fact that it has the global backing of scientific academies or could these guidelines improve integrity in research on a global basis?

Codes of conduct


What do retractions tell us?
J. Krueger. Office of Research Integrity Newsletter, October 2012

How concerned should you be about the apparent increase in retractions? Is the author of this article correct when he concludes: "Perceptions about retractions negatively impact all scientists, not just the few responsible; retractions are now everybody's concern."



Top Science Scandals of 2012.
E. Zielinska. The Scientist Magazine, December 17, 2012

Is this the sort of "top research story of the year" you would like to read? What is the best way to deal with the "creative" new ways researchers engage in misconduct?


Biomedical / natural science

Scientists take to Twitter to reveal their less than scientific methods.
M. Lorch. The Guardian, January 10, 2013

Would you tweet your friends that you had ended your experiment early because your favorite donut shop was closing? Check out this article for some of the information researchers pass along through Twitter and other social networking. Then think about the consequences of these messages going public.

Questionable practices


*Research funding: Same work, twice the money?
H. R. Garner, L. J. McIver, et al. Nature, January 31, 2013

You probably know that there is software to catch researchers (and students) who plagiarize. Did you also know that the some of this software might be able to catch other deceptive practices, such as "double dipping" (getting two or more funders to support the same research)? Are there other deceptive practices and forms of misbehavior that software might be able to detect?

Funding and grant management


RCUK Policy and Guidelines on Governance of Good Research Conduct.
Research Councils UK. February 2013

After years of working individually, the Research Councils of the United Kingdom (RCUK) joined together to produce a common policy and guidelines for the responsible conduct of research. Are the guidelines unique to the UK or could they be adopted throughout the world? Could you apply them in your research setting?

Codes of conduct


Health Testing on Mice Is Found Misleading in Some Cases.
G. Kolata. February 11, 2013

Researchers often depend on standard methods and long held assumptions when they design their research projects, but sometimes, common assumptions turn out to be limited or even false. What responsibilities do researchers have to think about and questions their methods before designing an experiment?

Research methods

Biomedical / Natural science

EPA Contaminated by Conflict of Interest.
D. Heath and R. Greene. PBS NewsHour & The Center for Public Integrity, February 13, 2013

Conflicts of interest are of particular importance when public health is at issue. This PBS story provides an update on a long-recognized public health controversy. What could be done to bring this controversy to an amicable resolution?

Conflict of interest

Physical sciences

*Redefine misconduct as distorted reporting.
D. Fanelli. Nature, February 14, 2013

The author of this article argues: "To make misconduct more difficult, the scientific community should ensure that it is impossible to lie by omission." How would this work in your field of research? What could be done to make sure reports of research were accurate and honest before publication?



New guidelines announced for risky research.
B. Maher. Nature Newsblog, February 21, 2013

At least since the advent of the nuclear age, researchers and society have been concerned about the proper way to pursue research that can be both beneficial and harmful--so-called "dual-use" research. Advances in the ability to engineer life have made dual-use research a pressing concern for biomedical researchers but the dilemma of dual-use touches many other fields as well. This brief story provides an update on developments in the biomedical sciences. Could similar concerns arise in your field of research if you are not in the biomedical sciences?

Dual-use research

Biomedical / Natural science / Engineering

Putin's Ph.D.: Can a Plagiarism Probe Upend Russian Politics?
S. Shuster. Time, February 28, 2013

What happens when plagiarism become a common practice? What should be done when it is discovered that many prominent officials are believed to have plagiarized their PhD theses?


Humanities / General

New Center Hopes to Clean Up Sloppy Science and Bogus Research.
T. Bartlett. The Chronicle of Higher Education, March 5, 2013

Published research findings should be reliable because they have been peer-reviewed! Are they? One group of psychologists is not sure and therefore has begun a project, the Open Science Collaboration ( to find out. Is something wrong when an entire field of research has to check whether its published research record is reliable?


Social science

For Scientists, an Exploding World of Pseudo-Academia.
G. Kolata. New York Times, April 13, 2013

Are all research conferences and research publications of equal value? Are some of very little professional value? This article on the "parallel world of pseudo-academia" describes some of the problems researchers face in deciding which conferences to attend and where to publish the results of their research. Is this an issue in your field of research?




Issue 1: March 2012

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