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Scientific misconduct is unethical behaviour or the failure to follow established guidelines (such as Good Clinical Practice) in scientific research.

Misconduct includes making things up, changing or lying about research, or copying the work of others (plagiarism). It also includes the failure to follow established guidelines where that failure is deliberate or dangerous – researchers have a duty of care to participants in clinical trials and must take reasonable steps to protect their health and data privacy.

Scientists could be found guilty of misconduct in research if they conceal misconduct by others. The MRC’s definition does not include honest error or honest differences in designing or carrying out research. Similarly, it does not include poor research unless there is ‘intention to deceive’.

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