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Guilt by association: How scientific misconduct harms prior collaborators

Katrin Hussinger () and Maikel Pellens

No 17-051, ZEW Discussion Papers from ZEW - Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research

Abstract: Recent highly publicized cases of scientific misconduct have raised concerns about its consequences for academic careers. Previous and anecdotal evidence suggests that these reach far beyond the fraudulent scientist and her career, affecting coauthors and institutions. Here we show that the negative effects of scientific misconduct spill over to uninvolved prior collaborators: compared to a control group, prior collaborators of misconducting scientists, who have no link to the misconduct case, are cited 8 to 9% less afterwards. We suggest that the mechanism underlying this phenomenon is stigmatization by mere association. The result suggests that scientific misconduct generates large indirect costs in the form of mistrust against a wider range of research findings than was previously assumed. The broad fallout of misconduct implies that potential whistleblowers might be disinclined to make their concerns public in order to protect their own reputation and career.

Keywords: scientific misconduct; prior collaborators; stigma (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: O31 O33 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-edu
Date: 2017
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https://www.econstor.eu/bitstream/10419/171327/1/1004964110.pdf (application/pdf)

Related works:
Journal Article: Guilt by association: How scientific misconduct harms prior collaborators (2019) Downloads
Working Paper: Guilt by Association: How Scientific Misconduct Harms Prior Collaborators (2018) Downloads
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:zbw:zewdip:17051

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