Have 1 In 5 UK Academics Fabricated Data?
A small survey of UK academics suggests misconduct such as faking data and plagiarism is occurring surprisingly often. The survey — of 215 UK academics — estimated that 1 in 7 had plagiarized from someone else’s work, and nearly 1 in 5 had fabricated data.Here’s how Joanna Williams and David Roberts at the University of Kent summarize the results in their full report, published by the Society for Research into Higher Education:
-Using references to support predetermined arguments rather than illuminate debate was undertaken by 38.1% (± 5.1%) respondents. This was the most frequently reported incidence of malpractice.Although these findings suggest there is cause for concern, they are higher than many of those reported by previous studies — including a 2014 paper by Roberts, which used similar survey methods and showed a fabrication rate of 0% among UK academics in biology.
-36.0% (± 7.6%) of respondents reported self-plagiarising. This is more than one in three researchers.
-17.9% (± 6.1%) of academics surveyed reported having fabricated (entirely invented) research data. This is almost 1 in 5 researchers.
-13.6% (± 7.5%) of respondents reported having engaged in plagiarism.