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1 in 7 Scientists Say Colleagues Fake Data

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1 in 7 Scientists Say Colleagues Fake Data

Postby Scepcop » 05 Jun 2009, 02:13

From ... 425036.ece

Faking scientific data and failing to report commercial conflicts of
interest are far more prevalent than previously thought, a study

One in seven scientists says that they are aware of colleagues having
seriously breached acceptable conduct by inventing results. And around
46 per cent say that they have observed fellow scientists engage in
“questionable practices”, such as presenting data selectively or
changing the conclusions of a study in response to pressure from a
funding source.

However, when scientists were asked about their own behaviour only 2
per cent admitted to having faked results.

Daniele Fanelli, of the University of Edinburgh, who carried out the
investigation, believes that high-profile cases such as that of Hwang
Woo-Suk, the South Korean scientist disgraced for fabricating human
stem cell data, are less unusual than is generally assumed.
“Increasing evidence suggests that known frauds are just the tip of
the iceberg and that many cases are never discovered,” he said.

The findings, published in the peer-reviewed journal PLoS One, are
based on a review of 21 scientific misconduct surveys carried out
between 1986 and 2005. The results paint a picture of a profession in
which dishonesty and misrepresentation are widespread.

In all the surveys people were asked about both their own research
practices and those of colleagues. Misconduct was divided into two
categories: fabrication, the actual invention of data; and lesser
breaches that went under the heading “questionable practices”. These
included dropping data points based on a “gut feeling” and failing to
publish data that contradict one’s previous research.

The discrepancy between the number of scientists owning up to
misconduct and those having been observed by colleagues is likely to
be in part due to fears over anonymity, Dr Fanelli suggests. “Anyone
who has ever falsified research is probably unwilling to reveal it
despite all guarantees of anonymity.”

The study predicts that the 2 per cent figure, although higher than
most previous estimates, is still likely to be conservative.

Another explanation for the differences between the self-report
results and colleague-report results could be that people consider
themselves to be more moral than others. In a marginal case, people
might characterise their colleagues’ behaviour as misconduct more
readily than they would their own.

The study included scientists from a range of disciplines. Misconduct
was far more frequently admitted by medical or pharmacological
researchers than others, supporting fears that the field of medical
research is being biased by commercial interests.
“Devotion to the truth is the hallmark of morality; there is no greater, nobler, more heroic form of devotion than the act of a man who assumes the responsibility of thinking.” - Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged
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Re: 1 in 7 Scientists Say Colleagues Fake Data

Postby wraith » 06 Jun 2009, 10:10

To tell you the truth, being a biologist (in training myself), in my chem lab class when i was a freshman, i used to make up my own data which was consistent with my findings, not because i wanted to lie, but because i was too lazy to come up with the data anyway. and i knew what the trend was going to be, so why not just bullshit it? I used to remember I bullshitted my titrations and simple lab stuff. Come to think of it, i still bullshit even on my bio labs when it came to genetically engineering simple e. coli cells to make them glow.
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Re: 1 in 7 Scientists Say Colleagues Fake Data

Postby Franc28 » 16 Jun 2009, 16:04

Given the state of modern science, why are you even surprised at this result? I really don't believe in modern science, honestly. It's a false bill of goods for the most part. We've been sold on the concept of "consensus science," political interests, moral relativism and arguments from authority as a replacement for doing actual science.
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