Authors : Noémie Aubert Bonn, Wim Pinxten
In the past decades, increasing visibility of research misconduct scandals created momentum for discourses on research integrity to such an extent that the topic became a field of research itself.
Yet, a comprehensive overview of research in the field is still missing. Here we describe methods, trends, publishing patterns, and impact of a decade of research on research integrity.
To give a comprehensive overview of research on research integrity, we first systematically searched SCOPUS, Web of Science, and PubMed for relevant articles published in English between 2005 and 2015.
We then classified each relevant article according to its topic, several methodological characteristics, its general focus and findings, and its citation impact.
We included 986 articles in our analysis. We found that the body of literature on research integrity is growing in importance, and that the field is still largely dominated by non-empirical publications.
Within the bulk of empirical records (N=342), researchers and students are most often studied, but other actors and the social context in which they interact, seem to be overlooked.
The few empirical articles that examined determinants of misconduct found that problems from the research system (e.g., pressure, competition) were most likely to cause inadequate research practices.
Paradoxically, the majority of empirical articles proposing approaches to foster integrity focused on techniques to build researchers’ awareness and compliance rather than techniques to change the research system.
Our review highlights the areas, methods, and actors favoured in research on research integrity, and reveals a few blindspots. Involving non-researchers and reconnecting what is known to the approaches investigated may be the first step to generate executable knowledge that will allow us to increase the success of future approaches.