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28.08.2018 | Scientific Contribution | Ausgabe 2/2019 Open Access

Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 2/2019

Criminalization of scientific misconduct

Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy > Ausgabe 2/2019
William Bülow, Gert Helgesson


This paper discusses the criminalization of scientific misconduct, as discussed and defended in the bioethics literature. In doing so it argues against the claim that fabrication, falsification and plagiarism (FFP) together identify the most serious forms of misconduct, which hence ought to be criminalized, whereas other forms of misconduct should not. Drawing the line strictly at FFP is problematic both in terms of what is included and what is excluded. It is also argued that the criminalization of scientific misconduct, despite its anticipated benefits, is at risk of giving the false impression that dubious practices falling outside the legal regulation “do not count”. Some doubts are also raised concerning whether criminalization of the most serious forms of misconduct will lower the burdens for universities or successfully increase research integrity. Rather, with or without criminalization, other measures must be taken and are probably more important in order to foster a more healthy research environment.

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