A study reveals men cheat more often than women when it came to committing fraud in life science reports and studies. Subjects were analyzed for professional misconduct, led by author and researcher Dr. Arturo Casadevall. Casadevall, along with Dr. Ferric Fang and Joan Bennett, wrote “Males Are Overrepresented among Life Science Researchers Committing Scientific Misconduct,” published in the online journal mBio.
Reports identified 228 individuals guilty of misconduct, 94 percent of incidents involving fraud, when an annual review was conducted by the United States Office of Research Integrity from 1994 through 2012. The ORI is the office responsible for the conduct of research and investigates charges of misconduct involving research supported by the Department of Health and Human Services.
The majority of those involved in the perpetration of fraud and misconduct encompassed male staffers from every echelon of life science research, from trainees to senior staff. Therefore, it was questioned why men were more prevalent than women when it came to wrongdoing.
Casadevall, who is also a professor at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University in New York, stated:
“Males are overrepresented among those committing misconduct implies a gender difference we need to better understand in any effort to promote the integrity of research … The fact that misconduct occurs across all stages of career development suggests that attention to ethical aspects of scientific conduct should not be limited to those in training, as is the current practice.”
It was theorized fraud could be due to simple biology. Casadevall suggested:
“As research has shown, males tend to be risk takers, more so than females, and to commit fraud entails taking a risk. It may also be that males are more competitive, or that women are more sensitive to the threat of sanctions. I think the best answer is that we don’t know.”
Researchers noted they’d begin a serious examination over how to resolve the discrepancy, as it is vital that scientists maintain compliance to ethics regardless of gender or position.
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