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Male Scientists More Prone To Misconduct 300

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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  • Alternatively (Score:0, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 23, 2013 @06:37PM (#42674495)

    Alternatively, women are allowed to get away with it.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 23, 2013 @06:38PM (#42674507)

    The opposite result would be unpublishable, and in an academic setting unspeakable. Can it be credible science if only one result was permissible?

    Posting as AC for the obvious reason.

  • by HPHatecraft ( 2748003 ) on Wednesday January 23, 2013 @06:47PM (#42674625)


    The trend seems clear, but the authors did admit that "[w]e cannot exclude the possibility that females commit research misconduct as frequently as males but are less likely to be detected."

    I remember reading once that as a child Mao Tse-tung often witnessed his parents fight. He concluded the more effective tactics were the indirect ones used by his mother. These recollections lodged in his memory -- it is no mistake that the Art of War, of which many of the tactics described therein are predicated on deceptiveness, became the revolutionary army's bible.

  • by ZombieBraintrust ( 1685608 ) on Wednesday January 23, 2013 @06:49PM (#42674653)
    Another theory. Gender imbalance is a clue that some hiring is not based on skill and merit. One could test this by seeing if fields with greater gender imbalance have more ethical violations than similer fields with less imbalance.
  • Risk adverse (Score:5, Interesting)

    by vlm ( 69642 ) on Wednesday January 23, 2013 @06:59PM (#42674791)

    Did they correct for risk aversion? Not being adverse to cheating, but being adverse to entering a field where luck / risk plays a pretty big part in success which means more motivation for cheating?

    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.


    Say you wanna prove women don't make as much money as men in field XYZ. Doesn't really matter what the result is, you get to publish, and in a publish or perish world, you win.

    Say you wanna methylate some weird hydrocarbon. And you just Freaking Cannot Do it. Perhaps because its impossible. Oh well I guess you fail and become homeless and live under a bridge. Or you could bend the rules just a tiny bit just this one time....

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

  • Re:Alternatively (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Genda ( 560240 ) < minus cat> on Wednesday January 23, 2013 @07:49PM (#42675393) Journal

    Wow... rather than look at logical behavioral and sociological differences in men and women that might result is this finding, the male response is women are just as bad at men but aren't held to account for their misdeeds. Hhmmmm. Interesting. So in how many societies on the planet are baby boys being slaughtered or dumped on orphanage porches to make way for female babies? How many men are being forced to stay in their houses under threat of death even when staying in that house may include starvation? How many men are surgically mutilated to ensure that they will never enjoy sex and remain faithful to their wives? How many men are being raped, mutilated, burned, disfigured or killed by women committing acts against society? How many men are being hired by women for their large bulges and rippling muscles? How many men have to deal in a daily battle of sexist, matriarchal social norms that cause them to be members of the poorest classes in society, be burdened by frequent abandonment by women, left holding the bag for raising single parent families? You know, they used to keep statistics about Single Fathers who were abandoned by their wives, but the number was so ridiculously small that it disappeared into the statistical noise so they stopped tracking it. How many men have to deal with a female controlled medical system that caters to women's every sexual whim but virtually ignores even the most basic reproductive needs of men? You know... you guys are a bunch of whining ass hats who haven't even gone to the slightest trouble to come up with a world view that reflect anything that has to do with this space time continuum, talk about narrow minded and delusional.

    Try this on, just as a possibility. 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. Consider men tend to be more competitive and women more collaborative, so men working more alone might be more tempted to fudge results because 1. They want to beat the competition and 2. There are fewer folks looking over their shoulders. Might it even be possible, that women have stronger social orientation then men and therefore a stronger sense of consequence for their actions. This would be consistent with research that suggest most female misconduct happens after menopause when estrogen drops and testosterone rises.

    Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of snooty little self serving bitches out there who use sex as a way to get ahead. You just want to notice "That Girl" inn't getting patted on the back or "high fived" by the other women in the office for her behavior, because most of us want to succeed on our merits, intelligence and personal dignity, and we see a little trollop screwing her way to the top as a cheater. Winning is less important to us, that contributing and leaving things better than we found them. Perhaps that is the important difference between women and men in general. Winning is great, winning at all costs, not so much.

  • by Genda ( 560240 ) < minus cat> on Wednesday January 23, 2013 @08:01PM (#42675519) Journal

    Actually, there are some excellent articles on primate behavior that suggest there are many reasons for infidelity among both sexes. Its not to hard to figure out why women are sneakier... think people, men outweigh women by 50% or more and have twice the muscle mass. If your spouse can kill you with their bare hands,you tend to unconsciously avoid circumstances where that behavior might be expressed. Duh! Many women are taught from an early age to marry a good provider, but when Mr. Oh My Gawd shows up... stuff happens. There used to be strong religious taboos and social morays that kept people faithful, but after the sexual revolution of the 60s and cheap and effective birth control, the gloves are now pretty much off.

    One growing answer has been polyamory or group marriage where a consenting group of people become all singing all dancing. This provides the members with sexual variety, while allowing group members natural strengths to empower the group and weaknesses being reinforced by other members. We still haven't gotten past jealousy and the idea of "Owning" our partners in this society, so don't expect that 50% divorce rate to improve anytime soon. There are however logical and even fascinating ways of people relating that may have real possibilities in the future.

  • Re:Alternatively (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 23, 2013 @11:38PM (#42677207)

    Two can play at this game. Genital mutilation is still regularly practiced on males in the US. Women are more physically violent in relationships (see any of the 200+ studies on this topic), but men are ridiculed if they ever complain about it, are arrested if they report it to the police, and any defensive action will result in a prison sentence.

    Single fathers are rare because the legal system overwhelmingly favors taking children away from their father. Divorce is similar. The homeless are almost entirely men because there is far more government support for poor women. Women's reproductive health is a medical specialty paid for by insurance, while male contraceptives haven't fundamentally changed for a thousand years and "men's health" isn't really a thing (beyond some rare doctor's individual interest).

    Something that is likely most relevant to Slashdot's user base is society's expectation that men drive the entire courtship process, and suffer countless painful rejections by women. Men are also pushed into the dangerous or unhealthy jobs, while society is perfectly accepting of women as homemakers.

    Heck, 60% of men throughout history never had surviving children, so society has always treated men as expendable. Men are competitive because the prize for first place is one or more women of your choice and a position of authority, second place is being first place's servant, and third place is dead. Men have to go big or go home, so I'm not particularly surprised that this mentality would lead to academic misconduct. OTOH, men tend to be in more senior positions than women since feminism is somewhat recent, so that would skew the results. (It also skews the "three times harder" nonsense, as does maternity leave and the tendency of women to not negotiate salary or pursue jobs with long hours but high pay.)

!07/11 PDP a ni deppart m'I !pleH