Historicizing the crisis of scientific misconduct in Indian science

Mahendra Shahare*, Lissa Roberts

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

A flurry of discussions about plagiarism and predatory publications in recent times has brought the issue of scientific misconduct in India to the fore. The debate has framed scientific misconduct in India as a recent phenomenon. This article questions that framing, which rests on the current tendency to define and police scientific misconduct as a matter of individual behavior. Without ignoring the role of individuals, this article contextualizes their actions by calling attention to the conduct of the institutions, as well as social and political structures that are historically responsible for governing the practice of science in India since the colonial period. Scientific (mis)conduct, in other words, is here examined as a historical phenomenon borne of the interaction between individuals’ aspirations and the systems that impose, measure, and reward scientific output in particular ways. Importantly, historicizing scientific misconduct in this way also underscores scientist-driven initiatives and regulatory interventions that have placed India at the leading edge of reform. With the formal establishment of the Society for Scientific Values in 1986, Indian scientists became the first national community worldwide to monitor research integrity in an institutionally organized way.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)485-506
Number of pages22
JournalHistory of science
Volume58
Issue number4
Early online date20 Jun 2020
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020

Keywords

  • UT-Hybrid-D
  • India
  • research integrity
  • Scientific misconduct
  • the Society for Scientific Values
  • fraud in science

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