Research Misconduct Policy in Biomedicine

From Basic Bioethics

Research Misconduct Policy in Biomedicine

Beyond the Bad-Apple Approach

By Barbara K. Redman

An analysis of current biomedical research misconduct policy that proposes a new approach emphasizing the context of misconduct and improved oversight.





An analysis of current biomedical research misconduct policy that proposes a new approach emphasizing the context of misconduct and improved oversight.

Federal regulations that govern research misconduct in biomedicine have not been able to prevent an ongoing series of high-profile cases of fabricating, falsifying, or plagiarizing scientific research. In this book, Barbara Redman looks critically at current research misconduct policy and proposes a new approach that emphasizes institutional context and improved oversight.

Current policy attempts to control risk at the individual level. But Redman argues that a fair and effective policy must reflect the context in which the behavior in question is embedded. As journalists who covered many research misconduct cases observed, the roots of fraud “lie in the barrel, not in the bad apples that occasionally roll into view.” Drawing on literature in related fields—including moral psychology, the policy sciences, the organizational sciences, and law—as well as analyses of misconduct cases, Redman considers research misconduct from various perspectives. She also examines in detail a series of clinical research cases in which repeated misconduct went undetected and finds laxity of oversight, little attention to harm done, and inadequate correction of the scientific record. Study questions enhance the book's value for graduate and professional courses in research ethics.

Redman argues that the goals of any research misconduct policy should be to protect scientific capital (knowledge, scientists, institutions, norms of science), support fair competition, contain harms to end users and to the public trust, and enable science to meet its societal obligations.

Instructor Resources

Downloadable instructor resources available for this title: answers to study questions


$30.00 X ISBN: 9780262019811 208 pp. | 5.375 in x 8 in 0 figure, 5 tables


  • Despite scholarly evidence, research misconduct is typically viewed as misbehavior of an individual rather than possible systemic dysfunction. It is remarkable that the research community fails to consider that scholarship since research and discovery are themselves academic pursuits. The case for looking at research misconduct in its larger context has only rarely been made. This book is a timely and excellent answer to that deficit.

    Michael Kalichman

    Director, Research Ethics Program, University of California, San Diego

  • For those interested in research misconduct, individuals—Summerlin, Darsee, Poisson, Bezwoda, Poehlman, Schön, Hwang, Stapel—evoke the lone, rare scientist gone bad. In this thorough and thoughtful book, Redman critiques the view of the bad apple, reviews what we know, expresses what we do not, and appeals for a system-wide evolution of responsibility to promote and ensure scientific integrity.

    Jon F. Merz

    Associate Professor, Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy, Pearlman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania