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Science

Male Scientists More Prone To Misconduct 300

Posted by Soulskill
from the it's-a-guy-thing dept.
sciencehabit writes "Male scientists — especially at the upper echelons of the profession — are far more likely than women to commit misconduct. That's the bottom line of a new analysis by three microbiologists of wrongdoing in the life sciences in the United States. Ferric Fang of the University of Washington, Seattle; Joan Bennett of Rutgers University; and Arturo Casadevall of Albert Einstein College of Medicine combed through misconduct reports on 228 people released by the U.S. Office of Research Integrity (ORI) over the last 19 years. They then compared the gender balance — or imbalance, in this case — against the mix of male and female senior scientists and trainees to gauge whether misconduct was more prevalent among men. A remarkable 88% of faculty members who committed misconduct were men, or 63 out of 72 individuals. The number of women in that group was one-third of what one would expect based on female representation in the life sciences."
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Male Scientists More Prone To Misconduct

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  • by RightSaidFred99 (874576) on Wednesday January 23, 2013 @06:32PM (#42674417)

    Their conclusion: Men commit more misconduct.

    My conclusion: Women are sneakier at committing misconduct.

  • Misconduct (Score:5, Insightful)

    by girlintraining (1395911) on Wednesday January 23, 2013 @06:36PM (#42674475)

    How is this news? I mean, really: In every aspect of society, men are more aggressive and prone to antisocial behavior than women. The headline might as well be reading "Sky found to be blue, water wet." It might be interesting if it turned out that the ratios were significantly skewed only in scientific endeavors compared to the baseline, but I'm not seeing that here. I'm seeing someone study a sample from a specific subculture and realize that... it's just like a random sample from the general population. It isn't new or groundbreaking. It's simply confirmatory... extra empirical findings that support what's already established.

  • by ZombieBraintrust (1685608) on Wednesday January 23, 2013 @06:43PM (#42674567)
    I interprit this as follows. Gender imbalance in a field increases the likelyhood that that the biased for gender contains low quality employees. These people would not have their job in a fair job market. Likewise the other gender will contain higher quality people who were able to overcome the gender bias with exceptional skills.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 23, 2013 @06:43PM (#42674575)
    Boobs buy a lot of forgiveness.
  • by ceoyoyo (59147) on Wednesday January 23, 2013 @06:45PM (#42674597)

    Studies of marital infidelity suggest women are sneakier. They're no more faithful, but they don't get caught as much. Not having the irresistible urge to brag about wrongdoings to their friends at the bar/locker room probably helps.

  • by Artraze (600366) on Wednesday January 23, 2013 @07:02PM (#42674827)

    They aren't terribly specific on what exactly constitutes misconduct, but it seems to be correlated with retracted papers and bad science. Given this, I can't think sneakiness is really going to account for much. After all, no amount of sneakiness really makes up for flawed science because, well, that's the point of science ;). Of course, it could let them get away with bad science and not be accused of misconduct. That I don't know.

    But, as a simple musing, I wonder if this is because female scientists feel they are under greater scrutiny, while men have a more old-boys-club outlook that makes them less concerned that they'll get in trouble for misconduct.

  • by RoknrolZombie (2504888) on Wednesday January 23, 2013 @07:05PM (#42674883)

    Studies of marital infidelity suggest women are sneakier. They're no more faithful, but they don't get caught as much. Not having the irresistible urge to brag about wrongdoings to their friends at the bar/locker room probably helps.

    That could be due to the husbands not being perceptive enough to notice as well. Instead of women being more sneaky, maybe men are just more oblivious.

  • Re:Not exactly (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Murdoch5 (1563847) on Wednesday January 23, 2013 @07:14PM (#42674997)
    Your right! If a woman gives a man a pat on the butt and the man complains in 99% of all cases nothing will happen. If that man even looks at a woman with subjective eyes then he can be fired or suspended from work. Women have been able to create a system where men can't even look at them subjectively but they can do almost anything and get away with it.
  • by Genda (560240) <mariet@got.nERDOSet minus math_god> on Wednesday January 23, 2013 @07:17PM (#42675027) Journal

    Boobs buy a lot of forgiveness.

    Then folks should be forgiving you continuously...

  • by the eric conspiracy (20178) on Wednesday January 23, 2013 @07:30PM (#42675209)

    It looked to me from the article that P=0.24.

    That is really not a reasonable basis to draw all these conclusions from.

  • Re:Risk adverse (Score:3, Insightful)

    by girlintraining (1395911) on Wednesday January 23, 2013 @07:55PM (#42675435)

    For example, lots more women in lib arts, where pretty much any result is acceptable. In the hard sciences, negative results are pretty much unacceptable, although in many ways they're just as important as positive results.

    I don't see how that makes any difference. It's a proven fact that men take risks even when there is not a clear advantage to doing so. In laymans terms, the "hold my beer" effect. While a competitive field may amplify this tendancy, numerous studies have shown it to be present regardless of circumstances and even present when detrimental to the individual/group being observed.

    I would stand by my lifetime observation that women are dramatically less tolerant of risk.

    Yes... They have to stay home and raise the kids, so if you run off and get yourself killed methylating hydrocarbons and lying to large audiences of men, the future of the human race remains assured. Whether this is due to innate differences in the sexes or because of social pressures can't be answered until our social expectations of men and women are equal. But this isn't just risk averse behavior -- women in general tend towards the average whereas men tend towards the extremes ... For every really intelligent man there's a really stupid one too, whereas those extremes are less common amongst women. Again, whether it's innate or socially constructed is a matter of serious debate presently (and has been for some time).

    As far as "negative results" in the hard sciences... You haven't done much hard science have you? Most of it consists of sitting in a cramped room with long rows of equipment and tables, fluorescent lights... and waiting. And waiting. and waiting some more until the machine goes "beep!" and tells you the 1,096th sample was a negative result, just like all the others. Look up the history of the lightbulb -- many hundreds of materials were tried before tungsten was found. WD-40... Whadda think WD 1 thru 39 was? Failures. If you can't tolerate failure, you're in the wrong line of work, bud. The post it note was the result of a failure. Duct tape? Failure! Persistence is what gets results in science, not lying, not risk taking, etc. Every major scientific advance has a huge pile of fail leading up to it.

    Every.

    Last.

    One.

  • by AwesomeMcgee (2437070) on Wednesday January 23, 2013 @07:56PM (#42675453)
    They controlled for percentage being men vs. woman in saying woman proportionate to their percentage in the field did one third of what men did proportionate to their percentage in the field.

    However, I would posit there is a cruicial missing control here: Authority. Misconduct is far more likely to be committed by folks in authority than those who aren't, I would like to see the percentage of woman committing misconduct proportionate to their percentage in *authority roles* rather than just their percentage in the whole field, likewise mens misconduct proportionate to their percentage in authority roles. I think this would be much more balanced, as it is a very relevant control they're missing from their statistics.
  • Re:Alternatively (Score:4, Insightful)

    by epyT-R (613989) on Wednesday January 23, 2013 @08:21PM (#42675723)

    Oh, so it's only ok for feminists to stereotype?

  • Re:Not exactly (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Genda (560240) <mariet@got.nERDOSet minus math_god> on Wednesday January 23, 2013 @08:27PM (#42675779) Journal

    Oh yeah, because everyone knows that women scientists like to work in their lingerie. Women in the middle east wear black gunny sacks, and the men still piss all over themselves to get a glimpse of fingernail... dude, its your hormones, your erection, your behavior, blaming other people because you have poor self control is like blaming fast food because it tastes good. That's the way its made, welcome to biology. Now take responsibility for your behavior.

  • Re:Alternatively (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ChrisMaple (607946) on Wednesday January 23, 2013 @09:07PM (#42676135)

    For a woman to succeed in science she has to work 3 time harder than a man, undergo 3 times as much critical scrutiny by a male dominated peer review and sweat 3 times harder about getting it right in the first place.

    Please show me the woman who is working 180 hours a week.

  • Re:Not exactly (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Alomex (148003) on Wednesday January 23, 2013 @09:42PM (#42676443) Homepage

    Oh, please all you want. Men do have problems, but being treated worse than women is not one of them.

  • Re:Alternatively (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 23, 2013 @10:00PM (#42676559)

    Who modded this "interesting?" It's incoherent trolling. Derailing if you're being generous.

    That last paragraph is the most sexist thing I've read in this discussion.

Never try to teach a pig to sing. It wastes your time and annoys the pig. -- Lazarus Long, "Time Enough for Love"

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