Publication pressure and scientific misconduct in medical scientists

J Empir Res Hum Res Ethics. 2014 Dec;9(5):64-71. doi: 10.1177/1556264614552421. Epub 2014 Oct 2.


There is increasing evidence that scientific misconduct is more common than previously thought. Strong emphasis on scientific productivity may increase the sense of publication pressure. We administered a nationwide survey to Flemish biomedical scientists on whether they had engaged in scientific misconduct and whether they had experienced publication pressure. A total of 315 scientists participated in the survey; 15% of the respondents admitted they had fabricated, falsified, plagiarized, or manipulated data in the past 3 years. Fraud was more common among younger scientists working in a university hospital. Furthermore, 72% rated publication pressure as "too high." Publication pressure was strongly and significantly associated with a composite scientific misconduct severity score.

Keywords: ethics in publishing; fraud; publication pressure; questionable research practice; scientific misconduct.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Attitude*
  • Belgium
  • Biomedical Research / ethics*
  • Ethics, Research
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Publishing / ethics*
  • Research Personnel / ethics*
  • Scientific Misconduct*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Workload*