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Men more likely than women to commit scientific fraud


Women may still be struggling to establish their place in the sciences but they hopefully they won’t be striving to achieve equality in the area examined in a recent study by the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University: fraud.

After examining 228 cases of scientific fraud reported to the United States Office of Research Integrity, of the 215 where fraud was committed, more than sixty-five percent of the cases found that men were to blame.

Seeing that the crime occurred at all career levels, experts believe courses in academic integrity need to be included at every level of the scientific spectrum so the lessons aren’t forgotten once a degree is granted.

The question now is, “Why?”

The study did not examine why men are more likely to commit fraud. One possibility is that misconduct is biologically driven. “As research has shown, males tend to be risk takers, more so than females, and to commit fraud entails taking a risk,” said Dr. Casadevall. “It may also be that males are more competitive, or that women are more sensitive to the threat of sanctions. I think the best answer is that we don’t know. Now that we have documented the problem, we can begin a serious discussion about what is going on and what can be done about it.”

It should also be noted that the study focused on the life sciences, so you can still apparently depend upon the good, old boys in the physics department.

Full story at Newswise.

Examining scientific integrity.

Photo credit: Fotolia

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