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Questionable research practices in academia: antecedents and consequences

David B. Grant (Department of Marketing, Hanken Svenska Handelshogskolan, Helsinki, Finland and Business School, University of Hull , Hull, UK)
Gyöngyi Kovács (Hanken Svenska Handelshogskolan, Helsinki, Finland)
Karen Spens (Hanken Svenska Handelshogskolan, Helsinki, Finland)

European Business Review

ISSN: 0955-534X

Article publication date: 12 March 2018




The purpose of this paper is to discuss questionable research practices (QRPs) in business research, particularly in the logistics and supply chain management discipline, in light of antecedents influenced by the current academic environment and the consequences for academic rigour and relevance to stimulate thinking and debate among the academic community.


A literature review and autoethnographic approach were used to examine these issues based on over 60 years’ collective academic experience of the authors. Data were collected from discussions among the paper’s authors as well as recounting open discussions with other academics and journal editors to collate their observations.


Evidence is provided of issues the authors have seen first-hand where antecedents in the academic environment influences QRPs, which then detrimentally affect research rigour and relevance, integrity and proper contributions to ground-breaking research and knowledge advancement.

Research limitations/implications

This paper is based on personal observations and experiences of the three authors as well as open-ended discussions with others in the academic community. Suggestions are provided for various academic stakeholders to address these issues.

Practical implications

Practical implications are only provided for academics in their roles as authors, journal editors and reviewers.

Social implications

Encouraging the academic community to eliminate QRPs to improve the rigour, relevance and quality of research will provide more credibility and integrity resulting in better impact and outcomes for society at large.


The value of this paper is in stimulating thinking and debate among academics to return to core issues and values in academia opposed to focusing on narrow university goals focussed on other antecedents of QRPs.



The authors acknowledge and thank the two reviewers for the original conference paper and the two reviewers for this special issue for their helpful comments and suggestions and are grateful to the special issue editors for their willingness to allow the authors to expand the conference paper and submit it.


Grant, D.B., Kovács, G. and Spens, K. (2018), "Questionable research practices in academia: antecedents and consequences", European Business Review, Vol. 30 No. 2, pp. 101-127.



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