Alternatives to whistleblowing, or how to intervene effectively and still have a career and life afterwards
Sieber, Joan E.
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We have learned that scientific misbehavior (that is, any scientific conduct that causes the scientific record to be inaccurate, not just plagiarism, falsification and fabrication), is very widespread and that persons who report such misbehavior on the part of their colleagues are likely to suffer serious consequences. In-depth interviews of 135 NIH Principal Investigators who have witnessed research wrongdoing illustrates the ineffectiveness of direct confrontation or reporting of wrong-doers, but illustrates effective ways to stop them in their tracks. Although persons who engage research wrong-doing may not have in mind to reform, they are concerned to save face and can often be shamed into behaving properly. Wise and responsible mentoring that involves providing evocative stories about how to effectively shame miscreants is likely to be more effective than reciting rules of proper research conduct. Examples are provided.