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Men more likely to commit research misconduct than female counterparts
Date:1/21/2013

8%) represented a total of 60% of cases, whereas students (16%) and post-doctoral fellows (25%) were sanctioned in only 41% of cases.

Casadevall says this disparity belies the common conception that misconduct is most often committed by research trainees striving to make a name for themselves. "Those numbers are very lopsided when you look at faculty. You can imagine people would take these risks when people are going up the ladder," says Casadevall, but once they've made it to the rank of "faculty", presumably the incentive to get ahead would be outweighed by the risk of losing status and employment, he says. Not so, apparently.

Bennett asserts that the "winner take all" reward system of science and pressure to secure funding that drives researchers of both sexes into misconduct is also to blame for driving women out of research. "Many women are totally turned off by the maneuverings and starkly competitive way of the academic workplace," says Bennett. "Cheating on the system is just one of many factors that induce women to leave academe and seek professional careers in other environments."

But why do men in the life sciences commit fraud more often than the women they work with? It's probably a combination of factors, says Fang. "A variety of biological, social and cultural explanations have been proposed for these differences," he says. "But we can't really say which of these apply to the specific problem of research misconduct." Biology can't be ruled out, but the authors point to recent studies that indicate competitive tendencies arise from social and cultural influences.

Regardless of the reasons why, the fact remains that research misconduct continues, even in the face of mandatory ethics training for research trainees at many institutions. Now that it's clear the problem of misconduct is not confined to trainees, it may be time to broaden ethics training to include the more senior researchers who seem to be driving t
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Contact: Jim Sliwa
jsliwa@asmusa.org
202-942-9297
American Society for Microbiology
Source:Eurekalert

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