Causal factors implicated in research misconduct: evidence from ORI case files

Sci Eng Ethics. 2007 Dec;13(4):395-414. doi: 10.1007/s11948-007-9045-2. Epub 2007 Nov 24.


There has been relatively little empirical research into the causes of research misconduct. To begin to address this void, the authors collected data from closed case files of the Office of Research Integrity (ORI). These data were in the form of statements extracted from ORI file documents including transcripts, investigative reports, witness statements, and correspondence. Researchers assigned these statements to 44 different concepts. These concepts were then analyzed using multidimensional scaling and cluster analysis. The authors chose a solution consisting of seven clusters: (1) personal and professional stressors, (2) organizational climate, (3) job insecurities, (4) rationalizations A, (5) personal inhibitions, (6) rationalizations B and, (7) personality factors. The authors discuss the implications of their findings for policy and for future research.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Ethics, Research*
  • Humans
  • Organizational Culture
  • Research Personnel / psychology*
  • Scientific Misconduct*
  • United States
  • United States Office of Research Integrity