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Research misconduct as a challenge for academic institutions and scientific journals
  1. Cristina Candal-Pedreira1,2,
  2. Joseph S Ross3,4,5,
  3. Ana Marušić6,
  4. Alberto Ruano-Ravina1,2,7
  1. 1 Preventive Medicine and Public Health, Universidade de Santiago de Compostela, Santiago de Compostela, Spain
  2. 2 Health Research Institute of Santiago de Compostela (Instituto de Investigación Sanitaria de Santiago de Compostela-IDIS), Santiago de Compostela, Spain
  3. 3 Section of General Internal Medicine and National Clinican Scholars Program, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut, USA
  4. 4 Department of Health Policy and Management, Yale University School of Public Health, New Haven, Connecticut, USA
  5. 5 Center for Outcomes Research and Evaluation, Yale-New Haven Hospital, New Haven, Connecticut, USA
  6. 6 Center for Evidence-based Medicine and Department of Research in Biomedicine and Health, University of Split School of Medicine, Split, Croatia
  7. 7 Consortium for Biomedical Research in Epidemiology and Public Health (CIBER en Epidemiología y Salud Pública-CIBERESP), Madrid, Spain
  1. Correspondence to Dr Alberto Ruano-Ravina, Preventive Medicine and Public Health, Universidade de Santiago de Compostela, Santiago de Compostela 15782, Galicia, Spain; alberto.ruano{at}


Research misconduct refers to a set of unethical practices in research and publication and is the main reason for retraction of articles published in the academic literature. Research misconduct has negative consequences and has generated public scepticism about research, which has led to increasing distrust in science. In this context, a joint effort by the scientific community, academic institutions, scientific journals and research funders is needed to identify and prevent research misconduct. In this paper, we will evaluate what has already been done and what is needed to do to better address research misconduct. The focus of this paper will be on the actions taken by academic institutions, as the first line of defence, and scientific journals, as the gatekeepers of science. However, scientific journals and academic institutions are only a part of a much larger and multistakeholder effort needed to address the challenges scientific research is facing.


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  • Contributors CC-P: conceptualisation, original draft preparation. JSR: conceptualisation, review and editing. AM: conceptualisation, review and editing. AR-R: conceptualisation, review and editing, supervision, guarantor.

  • Funding This study was funded by Instituto de Salud Carlos III (Predoctoral grant PFIS (reference number FI21/0014)).

  • Competing interests JSS currently receives research support through Yale University from Johnson & Johnson to develop methods of clinical trial data sharing, from the Medical Device Innovation Consortium as part of the National Evaluation System for Health Technology (NEST), from the Food and Drug Administration for the Yale-Mayo Clinic Center for Excellence in Regulatory Science and Innovation (CERSI) program (U01FD005938), from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (R01HS022882), from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) (R01HS025164, R01HL144644) and from the Laura and John Arnold Foundation to establish the Good Pharma Scorecard at Bioethics International; in addition, JSS is an expert witness at the request of Relator’s attorneys, the Greene Law Firm, in a qui tam suit alleging violations of the False Claims Act and Anti-Kickback Statute against Biogen Inc. that was settled in September 2022. JSS is a cofounder of medRxiv, former Associate Research Editor at the BMJ, and current Deputy Editor at JAMA. AM receives research support from the Croatian Science Foundation (Grant No. IP-2019-04-4882) and two Horizon Europe grants (iRISE and iRECS). AM is on the Council of the Committee of Publication Ethics (COPE) and is the editor of the ST-OPEN journal. She is also the President of The Embassy of Good Science Foundation. No other authors declared any potential competing interests regarding this study.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; externally peer reviewed.