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Pratt C., T., Reisig, M. D., Holtfreter, K., & Golladay, K. A. (2019). Scholars’ preferred solutions for research misconduct: results from a survey of faculty members at America’s top 100 research universities. Ethics & Behavior, 0(0), 1–21. https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.1080/10508422.2019.1612748


Research misconduct is harmful because it threatens public health and public safety, and also undermines public confidence in science. Efforts to eradicate ongoing and prevent future misconduct are numerous and varied, yet the question of “what works” remains largely unanswered. To shed light on this issue, this study used data from both mail and online surveys administered to a stratified random sample of tenured and tenure-track faculty members (N = 613) in the social, natural, and applied sciences at America’s top 100 research universities. Participants were asked to gauge the effectiveness of various intervention strategies: formal sanctions (professional and legal), informal sanctions (peers), prevention efforts (ethics and professional training), and reducing the pressures associated with working in research-intensive units. Results indicated that (1) formal sanctions received the highest level of support, (2) female scholars and researchers working in the applied sciences favored formal sanctions, and (3) a nontrivial portion of the sample supported an integrated approach that combined elements of different strategies. A key takeaway for university administrators is that a multifaceted approach to dealing with the problem of research misconduct, which prominently features enhanced formal sanctions, will be met with the support of university faculty.