Misconduct in Biomedical Research: A Meta-Analysis and Systematic Review

J Int Soc Prev Community Dent. 2023 Jun 29;13(3):185-193. doi: 10.4103/jispcd.JISPCD_220_22. eCollection 2023 May-Jun.


AIMS AND OBJECTIVES: This study aimed to assess the nature and prevalence of misconduct in self and nonself-reported biomedical research.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: A detailed review of previously conducted studies was conducted through PubMed Central, PubMed, and Google Scholar using MeSH terms: “scientific misconduct,” “Publications,” “plagiarism,” and “authorship,” and keywords: scientific misconduct, gift authorship, ghost authorship, and duplicate publication. MeSH terms and keywords were searched in combinations using Boolean operators “AND” and “OR.” Of 7771 articles that appeared in the search, 107 were selected for inspection. The articles were screened for their quality and inclusion criteria. Finally, 16 articles were selected for meta-analysis. Data analysis was conducted using an Open-Source, Open Meta Analyst, statistical software using the package “metaphor.”

RESULTS: Plagiarism, data fabrication, and falsification were prevalent in most articles reviewed. The prevalence of research misconduct for plagiarism was 4.2% for self-reported and 27.9% for nonself-reported studies. Data fabrication was 4.5% in self-reported and 21.7% in nonself-reported studies. Data falsification was 9.7% in self-reported and 33.4% in nonself-reported studies, with significant heterogeneity.

CONCLUSION: This meta-analysis gives a pooled estimate of the misconduct in research done in biomedical fields such as medicine, dental, pharmacy, and others across the world. We found that there is an alarming rate of misconduct in recent nonself-reported studies, and they were higher than that in the self-reported studies.

PMID:37566729 | PMC:PMC10411296 | DOI:10.4103/jispcd.JISPCD_220_22


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