This study found that less than half of the respondents are willing to blow the whistle. The results reveal that a lack of protection with regard to the whistleblower's identity, the tedious investigative process, and the notion of avoiding confrontation, which is more apparent in Asian cultures as compared to the West, are among the reasons why individuals who witnessed misconduct chose to remain silent. Adhering to the Asian cultural upbringing where the young must respect the old, those of lower rank must obey those with higher authority, and subordinates do not question the actions of their superior, has become a norm even in the working environment. Therefore, emphasize the need for better protection for whistleblowers including using experienced individuals with a research ethics background to handle allegations from whistleblowers. In addition, established guidelines and procedures for whistleblowers with regard to voicing their allegations against colleagues engaged in research misconduct is still lacking or, to a certain extent, is still unknown to researchers. Thus, the concern indicates a need for institutions to create awareness among researchers regarding the existing platform for whistleblowers, or to develop a systematic and clear procedure which is reliable and independent to promote professionalism in academia.
* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.