Understanding Research Misconduct: A Comparative Analysis of 120 Cases of Professional Wrongdoing

James M. DuBois, Emily E. Anderson, John Chibnall, Kelly Carroll, Tyler Gibb, Chiji Ogbuka, Timothy Rubbelke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


We analyzed 40 cases of falsification, fabrication, or plagiarism (FFP), comparing them to other types of wrongdoing in research (n = 40) and medicine (n = 40). Fifty-one variables were coded from an average of 29 news or investigative reports per case. Financial incentives, oversight failures, and seniority correlate significantly with more serious instances of FFP. However, most environmental variables were nearly absent from cases of FFP and none were more strongly present in cases of FFP than in other types of wrongdoing. Qualitative data suggest FFP involves thinking errors, poor coping with research pressures, and inadequate oversight. We offer recommendations for education, institutional investigations, policy, and further research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)320-338
Number of pages19
JournalAccountability in Research
Issue number5-6
StatePublished - Sep 2013


  • fabrication
  • falsification
  • historiometry
  • plagiarism
  • professional misbehavior
  • research misconduct


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