An initial sketch of research misconduct in Low and Middle-Income Countries

Wherever there is human activity there is misconduct. In regard to scientific research works, since research is a global activity research misconduct is no doubt a worldwide problem.

But we lack reliable data on the extent and distribution of research misconduct. Few countries have mounted a comprehensive response to misconduct that include programmes of prevention, investigation, punishment, and correction and, arguably, no country has a comprehensive response, although the US, the Scandinavian Countries, and Germany have formal programmes.

In an effort to provide what might best be described as an initial sketch of research misconduct in Low and Middle-Income Countries (LMICs), a Medline search was conducted in June 2012 within UnitedHealth and NHLBI Centers of Excellence, a network of centers in LMICs including China, Bangladesh, India, Tunisia, Kenya, South Africa, Mexico, Central America, Peru and Argentina conducting research on non-communicable disease.

According to the research, studies conducted mostly in high-income countries suggest that 2% - 14% of scientists may have fabricated or falsified data and that a third to three-quarters may be guilty of "questionable research practices". The limited data available from LMICs suggest that research misconduct is as common there as in high-income countries and there have been high profile cases of misconduct from LMICs. Among those LMICs, China has created an Office of Scientific Research Integrity Construction and begun a comprehensive response, but most LMICs have yet to mount a response.

The article "Research Misconduct in Low and Middle-Income Countries" by Joseph Ana, Tracey Koehlmoos, Richard Smith, Lijing L. Yan was published on PLOS Medicine on 26 March 2013.

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