Will Felps

Associate Professor




Room 464, UNSW Business School, UNSW


September 11, 2018: Will Felps 
Topic: Solutions to the Credibility Crisis in Business Science

This presentation argues much academic misconduct can be explained as the result of social dilemmas occurring at two levels of analysis. First, the career benefits associated with engaging in Noncredible Research Practices (NCRPs) (e.g. data manipulation, fabricating results, data hoarding, undisclosed HARKing) result in many academics choosing self-interest over collective welfare. These perverse incentives derive from journal gatekeepers who are pressed into a similar social dilemma. Namely, an individual journal’s status (i.e. its “impact factor”) is likely to suffer from unilaterally implementing practices that help ensure the credibility of business science claims (e.g. dedicating journal space to strict replications, crowd-sourcing replications, data submission requirements, in-house analysis checks, registered reports, Open Practice badges). Fortunately, research on social dilemmas and collective action offers solutions. For example, journal editors could pledge to publish a certain number of credibility boosting articles contingent on a proportion of their “peer” journals doing the same. Details for successful implementation of conditional pledges, other social dilemma solutions – including actions for business academics who support changes in journal practices (e.g. reviewer boycotts / buycotts), and insights on credibility supportive journal practices from other fields are provided.