Perceptions of research integrity climate differ between academic ranks and disciplinary fields: Results from a survey among academic researchers in Amsterdam

Tamarinde L Haven, Joeri K Tijdink, Brian C Martinson, Lex M Bouter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Breaches of research integrity have shocked the academic community. Initially explanations were sought at the level of individual researchers but over time increased recognition emerged of the important role that the research integrity climate may play in influencing researchers' (mis)behavior. In this study we aim to assess whether researchers from different academic ranks and disciplinary fields experience the research integrity climate differently. We sent an online questionnaire to academic researchers in Amsterdam using the Survey of Organizational Research Climate. Bonferroni corrected mean differences showed that junior researchers (PhD students, postdocs and assistant professors) perceive the research integrity climate more negatively than senior researchers (associate and full professors). Junior researchers note that their supervisors are less committed to talk about key research integrity principles compared to senior researchers (MD = -.39, CI = -.55, -.24). PhD students perceive more competition and suspicion among colleagues (MD = -.19, CI = -.35, -.05) than associate and full professors. We found that researchers from the natural sciences overall express a more positive perception of the research integrity climate. Researchers from social sciences as well as from the humanities perceive less fairness of their departments' expectations in terms of publishing and acquiring funding compared to natural sciences and biomedical sciences (MD = -.44, CI = -.74, -.15; MD = -.36, CI = -.61, -.11). Results suggest that department leaders in the humanities and social sciences should do more to set fairer expectations for their researchers and that senior scientists should ensure junior researchers are socialized into research integrity practices and foster a climate in their group where suspicion among colleagues has no place.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0210599
Pages (from-to)e0210599
JournalPLoS ONE
Volume14
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2019

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