Three Papers on the Moral Perceptions of Scientific Misconduct

Thumbnail Image



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title

Repository Usage Stats



This dissertation investigates the moral perceptions of scientific misconduct on three different dimensions. Chapter 1 investigates how the signal of a retraction as a moral breach affects co-authors and those tangentially related to those at fault. Characterizing retractions as scandalous events, I examine the extent of stigma spillover in the network. Chapter 1 uses large-scale data collected from, an open- source database that aims to unify Microsoft Academic Graph, Crossref, Web of Science, and PubMed. Using future retractions as a proxy for stigma, I find that those directly related to a retraction are more likely to experience retractions in the future. I find no support for stigma spillover to coworkers in the network that are not directly associated with a retraction.Chapters 2 and 3 use original survey data to explore differences in perceptions of scientific misconduct along multiple dimensions. Chapter 2 presents a novel vignette survey experiment that measures moral reactions to different kinds of academic misconduct. The findings show a clear ranking in perceptions of morality, with data fabrication being the worst, plagiarism being slightly less bad, mistakes being highly forgivable, and honest and accurate research seen as highly moral. Chapter 3 uses a similar survey design as Chapter 2 to measure whether moral perceptions of plagiarism are based in cultural expectations about the profession engaging in plagiarism or are reactions to a transgression of the authenticity of the product. By asking participants a) how frequently they believe different professions to engage in plagiarism and b) how immoral they think the behavior is, we find that impressions of frequency are due to beliefs of cultural meanings of an occupation, and that immorality is better explained by violations of creativity and authenticity.






Montagne, Danielle Elyse (2023). Three Papers on the Moral Perceptions of Scientific Misconduct. Dissertation, Duke University. Retrieved from


Dukes student scholarship is made available to the public using a Creative Commons Attribution / Non-commercial / No derivative (CC-BY-NC-ND) license.