A quick review of the research misconduct case summaries via the United States Department of Health and Human Services Office of Research Integrity reveals one recurring theme. Of the 34 researchers who currently have imposed administrative actions against them due to findings of research misconduct, all 34 of them were conducting biomedical-related research.
For example, consider the following:
2005 – Kornak, Paul H. – Stratton VA Medical Center
2005 – Poehlman, Eric T. – University of Vermont – National Institute of Aging & National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
2007 – Sudbo, Jon – Norwegian Radium Hospital – National Cancer Institute & National Institutes of Health
2009 – Thomas, Judith M. – University of Alabama at Birmingham – National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, & National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
2012 – Thiruchelvam, Mona – University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey – National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, National Institutes of Health, & National Institute on Drug Abuse
2012 – Smart, Eric J. – University of Kentucky – National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, National Institutes of Health, & National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
2015 – Potti, Anil – Duke University School of Medicine – National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, National Institutes of Health, & National Cancer Institute
Why are all of the research misconduct case summaries biomedical-related? Are biomedical-related research falsifications or fabrications more detectable? Is it simply that biomedical-related research misconduct exposes participants to significantly greater harms and, thus, warrants the full resources of the governing body?
As a graduate student in the Department of Engineering Education, all of my interests are related to social behavioral research. Since social behavioral research is also within the purview of the United States Department of Health and Human Services Office of Research Integrity, do they also investigate social behavioral research misconduct? If yes, what explains the absence of any social behavioral research misconduct case summaries? Is social behavioral research misconduct more difficult to detect?
If no, what governing body does investigate social behavioral research misconduct?