Research Misconduct And It’s Impact

Fraud in science is a major problem, and current evidence on how widespread it is, remains another problem. Misconduct in science essentially means…

1) Fabrication of Data

2) Manipulating data to produce an unjustified result

3) Using previous research, claiming it’s your own

Scientific research fraud is a widespread major problem, one of which I have addressed early on in the beginning stages of this blog. The corruption is generally downplayed by some in the scientific community and advocates alike even though they have no hard evidence to the contrary. What they do claim about this issue, is stating it nothing more than a small group that is tainting research findings. For example in Science News

“Estimates suggest that between 0.1% and 1% of researchers commit fraud and perhaps as many as 10% to 50% engage in questionable practices. Most of these are relatively minor, said Dr John Marks, Director of Science and Strategy at ESF, “but if people get away with it and if no-one says anything about it, it might invite bigger issues of misconduct.”

He said that opinion polls showed that trust in scientists is still high “but that trust is easily lost by high profile cases of misconduct and that is why we are so concerned.”

Public relations is the very reason why they are downplaying the fraud. In an article of the Washington Post where not one, not two, but three investigations turned up evidence that it’s no small problem.

“The past decade’s most bitterly fought case of scientific fraud rapidly turned into a morality play. Arrogance, ambition and pride had more to do with the way this quarrel developed than genetic theory did.

After five years and five investigations – two by universities, two by the National Institutes of Health and one by a congressional subcommittee – the affair seems to have arrived at a conclusion.

While fraud can and does hurt research about evolution, it goes way beyond that scope of study. You see, research fraud in the medical field can cause undue injuries or even death.

Thousands of papers are submitted each year, it very difficult to police all of them to make sure they are legit, then with the PR factor, some get overlooked. The question is, since this is a well known problem why hasn’t the scientific community tried harder to crack down on it?

Activism in publications are geared for fighting creationism, or intelligent design, but cleaning their own house they seem to neglect. Yes, they do address the problem once in awhile, But we cannot put people’s lives at stake for the sake of our own. We can be puffed with pride and deny a problem hardly exists. Research misconduct has a dangerous impact, one of which should be resolved!

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