The report – which is currently only available in Norwegian – analyses attitudes towards and experiences with the following questionable research practices (QRP):

  • To accept, mandate or allocate authorship based on criteria other than significant contribution to a scientific work (gift authorship)
  • To deny or omit authorship despite significant contribution to a scientific work
  • To break up or segment study results into two or more publications to boost your publication credits, at the expense of scientific quality (salami slicing)
  • To create the impression of having consulted a source by copying others' citations
  • To use research data/material when its ownership is contested
  • To refrain from informing end-users and decision-makers about significant limitations and/or uncertainties in the data material, analysis and/or conclusion
  • To change the design, methodology and/or results of a study in response to pressure from stakeholders or funding sources
  • To refrain from reporting (whistle blowing) serious breaches of research ethical guidelines
  • To include irrelevant or unnecessary references in a publication in order to increase the citation frequency of a colleague, a research environment or a journal

The report builds on a questionnaire that was completed by 7 291 researchers nationwide (response rate 23.4 %).

The first interim report, Research integrity in Norway – results from a nationwide survey on research ethics, also included attitudes towards and experience with the unacceptable FFPs - Fabrication, Falsification and Plagiarism. It presented a ranking based on the mean assessed severity. There seems to be a clear hierarchy of where falsification, fabrication and plagiarism are considered the most severe practices, and strategic citation and strategically breaking up results into different publications (salami slicing) the least severe.

Disturbing finding

The second report studies the nine QRPs in further detail, analyzing clusters in the material. 40 percent of respondents say they have engaged in at least one questionable practice within the last three years. Furthermore, a group of 13 percent has an elevated risk of accepting gift authorships.

Almost 5 percent of the respondents report having taken part in at least three questionable research practice during the last three years. The report calls this finding "disturbing".

The authors conclude that they hope the report will open for discussions on the norms of research ethics, since tensions between norms and reality can indicate unrealistic expectations or that the normative foundation is too rigid.