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Freckelton Q. C., I. (2020). Research Misconduct. In R. Iphofen (Ed.), Handbook of Research Ethics and Scientific Integrity. Springer. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-76040-7_6-2


When misconduct is alleged in relation to research, it requires employing, auspicing, and funding bodies to undertake an investigation. However, a number of legal steps can be taken to obstruct or delay the progress of an investigation including defamation proceedings and applications for injunctions alleging deficits in investigative fairness and methodology. Depending upon the outcome of the investigation, there is the potential for a range of serious legal outcomes for the individual concerned. These include disciplinary action for practitioners who are registered/licensed or who are members of a professional association, criminal prosecution, civil actions for compensation, and dismissal from or demotion in employment. The stakes are high for all concerned – the person accused of research misconduct, the employing organization, the funding body, the whistleblower, the area of research, and those who may have participated in or stood to benefit from the research. It is common for legal proceedings that arise from research misconduct to be lengthy and assertively contested. This chapter reviews international legal responses to accusations by whistleblowers that research misconduct has taken place, identifying the importance of prompt, fair, and independent investigative procedures and concentrating upon the role of disciplinary and criminal law to take stern measures to deter the incidence of fraudulent conduct on the part of persons who are funded either by government or by private agencies to undertake research projects.