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      The Perverse Effects of Competition on Scientists’ Work and Relationships

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          Abstract

          Competition among scientists for funding, positions and prestige, among other things, is often seen as a salutary driving force in U.S. science. Its effects on scientists, their work and their relationships are seldom considered. Focus-group discussions with 51 mid- and early-career scientists, on which this study is based, reveal a dark side of competition in science. According to these scientists, competition contributes to strategic game-playing in science, a decline in free and open sharing of information and methods, sabotage of others' ability to use one's work, interference with peer-review processes, deformation of relationships, and careless or questionable research conduct. When competition is pervasive, such effects may jeopardize the progress, efficiency and integrity of science.

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          Most cited references 38

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          Priorities in Scientific Discovery: A Chapter in the Sociology of Science

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            Real Science

             John Ziman (2000)
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              Scientists' perceptions of organizational justice and self-reported misbehaviors.

              Policymakers concerned about maintaining the integrity of science have recently expanded their attention from a focus on misbehaving individuals to characteristics of the environments in which scientists work. Little empirical evidence exists about the role of organizational justice in promoting or hindering scientific integrity. Our findings indicate that when scientists believe they are being treated unfairly they are more likely to behave in ways that compromise the integrity of science. Perceived violations of distributive and procedural justice were positively associated with self-reports of misbehavior among scientists.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Science and Engineering Ethics
                Sci Eng Ethics
                Springer Science and Business Media LLC
                1353-3452
                1471-5546
                December 2007
                November 21 2007
                December 2007
                : 13
                : 4
                : 437-461
                Article
                10.1007/s11948-007-9042-5
                18030595
                © 2007

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