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Table 3 Top 5 rankings according to frequency, impact on truth and trust, and preventability

From: Ranking major and minor research misbehaviors: results from a survey among participants of four World Conferences on Research Integrity

Rank number Frequency (1–5) Mean score (95% CIa)
 1 Selectively cite to enhance your own findings or convictions (R) 3.53 (3.26–3.80)
 2 Insufficiently supervise or mentor junior coworkers (C) 3.46 (3.18–3.74)
 3 Not publish a valid “negative” study (R) 3.39 (3.09–3.70)
 4 Demand or accept an authorship for which one does not qualify (C) 3.35 (3.02–3.69)
 5 Selectively cite to please editors, reviewers, or colleagues (R) 3.29 (2.95–3.63)
Rank number Impact on truth (1–5) Mean score (95% CI)
 1 Fabricate data (D) 4.63 (4.43–4.84)
 2 Selectively delete data, modify data or add fabricated data after performing initial data-analyses (R) 4.36 (4.11–4.62)
 3 Modify the results or conclusions of a study due to pressure of a sponsor (R) 4.35 (4.13–4.59)
 4 Choose a clearly inadequate research design or using evidently unsuitable measurement instruments (S) 4.18 (3.93–4.42)
 5 Conceal results that contradict your earlier findings or convictions (R) 4.04 (3.78–4.31)
Rank number Impact on trust (1–5) Mean score (95% CI)
 1 Fabricate data (D) 4.70 (4.51–4.89)
 2 Selectively delete data, modify data, or add fabricated data after performing initial data-analyses (R) 4.48 (4.28–4.69)
 3 Modify the results or conclusions of a study due to pressure of a sponsor (R) 4.40 (4.15–4.66)
 4 Review your own papers (C) 4.08 (3.63–4.52)
 5 Unfairly review papers, grant applications or colleagues applying for promotion (C) 4.06 (3.79–4.34)
Rank number Preventability (1–5) Mean score (95% CI)
 1 Ignore substantial safety risks of the study to participants, workers, or environment (S) 3.91 (3.58–4.25)
 2 Review your own papers (C) 3.88 (3.47–4.30)
 3 Ignore basic principles of quality assurance (D) 3.83 (3.61–4.05)
 4 Use published ideas or phrases of others without referencing (C) 3.81 (3.55–4.08)
 5 Inadequately handle or store data or (bio)materials (D) 3.79 (3.50–4.08)
Rank number Product of frequency and impact on truth (1–25) Mean score (95% CI)
 1 Insufficiently supervise or mentor junior coworkers (C) 12.59 (11.29–13.89)
 2 Insufficiently report study flaws and limitations (R) 12.32 (10.99–13.65)
 3 Keep inadequate notes of the research process (D) 12.18 (10.57–13.78)
 4 Turn a blind eye to putative breaches of research integrity by others (C) 12.12 (10.69–13.56)
 5 Ignore basic principles of quality assurance (D) 12.04 (10.72–13.36)
Rank number Product of frequency and impact on trust (1–25) Mean score (95% CI)
 1 Use published ideas or phrases of others without referencing (C) 12.08 (10.66–13.50)
 2 Insufficiently report study flaws and limitations (R) 12.04 (10.68–13.41)
 3 Turn a blind eye to putative breaches of research integrity by others (C) 11.96 (10.43–13.49)
 4 Insufficiently supervise or mentor junior coworkers (C) 11.81 (10.55–13.07)
 5 Ignore basic principles of quality assurance (D) 11.76 (10.40–13.11)
Rank number Product of frequency and preventability (1–25) Mean score (95% CI)
 1 Insufficiently supervise or mentor junior coworkers (C) 12.96 (11.57–14.36)
 2 Inadequately handle or store data or (bio)materials (D) 11.97 (10.22–13.72)
 3 Use published ideas or phrases of others without referencing (C) 11.91 (10.49–13.32)
 4 Keep inadequate notes of the research process (D) 11.88 (10.37–13.40)
 5 Ignore basic principles of quality assurance (D) 11.40 (10.11–12.68)
  1. 95% CI 95% confidence interval, R item from the domain reporting, C item from the domain collaboration, D item from the domain data collection, S item from the domain study design