30 Years of agronomic research in Iran: II. Evaluation of research ethics

Document Type : Scientific - Research


Department of Agronomy and Plant Breeding, Faculty of Agriculture Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Iran


During the last three decades publication of papers in different fields of agronomic sciences have been increased drastically in Iran. However, there is growing warnings about research misconducts. To get a quantitative insight into the commitment to the research ethics, 1269 papers published during the last 3 decades in the refereed domestic journals were surveyed using human tools. The frequency of different type of misconducts were calculated and compared statistically. The results indicated that overlap in title, the target crop, experimental factors (treatments) and the measured traits was occurred with frequency of 26% among the surveyed papers which was categorized as unauthorized adoption of ideas. Falsification and fabrication was distinguished based on the coefficient of variation (CV), probability of type I error and discrepancy between the results of ANOVA and regression analysis. This type of misconducts had frequency of 6%. However, plagiarism had a significantly higher frequency and was detected in up to 12% of the papers. The frequency of all type of misconducts was significantly higher in the papers where the corresponding authors were students compared to the papers published by scientific staffs of universities/research institutes. Overall research misconducts were distinguished in 16% of papers and were most frequent in the 1380 decade compared to 60’s and 70’s. It seems that lack of awareness about the principles of research ethics is the main cause of the prevalence of the observed misconducts. Therefore, development of a national code of ethics is of high priority for the national agricultural research system in the country.


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