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PLoS One. 2017 Mar 15;12(3):e0172792. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0172792. eCollection 2017.

Questionable research practices among italian research psychologists.

Author information

1
Department of Developmental Psychology and Socialization, University of Padova, Padova, Italy.
2
Department of Methodology and Statistics, Tilburg University, Tilburg, Netherlands.
3
Department of Psychology and Cognitive Science, University of Trento, Trento, Italy.

Abstract

A survey in the United States revealed that an alarmingly large percentage of university psychologists admitted having used questionable research practices that can contaminate the research literature with false positive and biased findings. We conducted a replication of this study among Italian research psychologists to investigate whether these findings generalize to other countries. All the original materials were translated into Italian, and members of the Italian Association of Psychology were invited to participate via an online survey. The percentages of Italian psychologists who admitted to having used ten questionable research practices were similar to the results obtained in the United States although there were small but significant differences in self-admission rates for some QRPs. Nearly all researchers (88%) admitted using at least one of the practices, and researchers generally considered a practice possibly defensible if they admitted using it, but Italian researchers were much less likely than US researchers to consider a practice defensible. Participants' estimates of the percentage of researchers who have used these practices were greater than the self-admission rates, and participants estimated that researchers would be unlikely to admit it. In written responses, participants argued that some of these practices are not questionable and they have used some practices because reviewers and journals demand it. The similarity of results obtained in the United States, this study, and a related study conducted in Germany suggest that adoption of these practices is an international phenomenon and is likely due to systemic features of the international research and publication processes.

PMID:
28296929
PMCID:
PMC5351839
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0172792
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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