Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Science Studies

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin | Department of Social Sciences | Science Studies | Research | Shaming Science – Reintegration vs. Stigmatization of Deviance

Shaming Science – Reintegration vs. Stigmatization of Deviance

Senior Researcher: Prof. Dr. Martin Reinhart

Researchers: Dr. Felicitas Heßelmann, Marion Schmidt (DZHW)

Running: 2014-2017


In science, discoveries are rewarded with reputation and career options. For this purpose researchers sometimes cross not only the boundaries of established knowledge but also of permissible behaviour. As a consequence, cases of deviance in science occur regularly as can be seen e.g. from the now numerous publicly scandalized cases of plagiarism by officials and scientists. Previous studies indicate that the effect of the scientific ethos on the community of scientists is not as distinctive as one would hope. However, little is known either about the motives for scientific misconduct or the existing instruments for prevention and sanctioning. The project "Shaming Science – Reintegration vs. Stigmatisation of Deviance" analyses the developing procedures to secure minimal requirements for scientific work. It also focuses on possible unanticipated consequences of procedures that are in place to ensure optimal research quality. Theoretically, the project combines two sociological areas – Science Studies and Criminology. Based on bibliometric analysis of retracted publications and further document analysis a typology of the careers of deviant scientists will be developed. Subsequently, interviews will be used to investigate the strategies of institutional actors such as journal editors, offices for research integrity, ombudsmen, and funding organisations in response to scientific misconduct. Together, the results from these approaches will improve our understanding of whether and how the self-correcting potential in the science system contributes to the prevention of misconduct.


→ further information to be found on the DZHW web page