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Science Researchers "fabricate results" "frequently"

Doctoring the evidence: what the science establishment doesn’t want you to know | The Sunday Times

Science has a dirty secret: research is plagued by plagiarism, falsification and fabrication.

... editor-in-chief of the British Medical Journal, Dr Fiona Godlee...Hammering out an editorial last week at the British Medical Association’s redbrick headquarters off Euston Road in London, she tackled one of the toughest problems of all: science fraud and research misconduct.

“It is difficult to know how prevalent misconduct is,” Godlee wrote, “but there is evidence that it happens frequently.”...

The science establishment’s consensus is that there is no need for outside scrutiny because, apart from the odd sociopath given credence by an “irresponsible” media, science is above the kind of misconduct that has tainted the Roman Catholic church, politics, the press and, of course, the banks.

This is a little like the church saying, as it did, that everything was fine but for a little bit of regrettable priestly paedophilia — or the press claiming that phone-hacking was confined to one “rogue reporter”.

For too long, science grandees have refused to confront the ethical misconduct in their midst, which is driven by the need to generate research funding.

If the mandarins of science shirk a house-cleaning, others will do it for them. In recent months, the quiet, polite voices of traditional science editors such as Godlee have been joined by noisy — and knowledgeable — whistleblowers on the worldwide web.

Science, like other fallen pillars of modern British society, faces a reckoning.

Scientific fraud is classified under three big sins. The first is plagiarism, best exemplified in Britain by the case of Dr Raj Persaud, the celebrity psychiatrist. He cut and pasted others’ work into his books and articles, and in July 2008 was briefly suspended from practising.

The second sin is falsification, such as in the case of Andrew Wakefield, the so-called MMR doctor. He was erased from the medical register in 2010 over what Godlee calls “an elaborate fraud” exposed by The Sunday Times.

And the third is fabrication, admitted only four months ago by Dr Peter Francis, a British ophthalmic geneticist working in the United States. He made up the results of work never done, leading to sanctions by America’s National Institutes of Health.

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It is not just in medicine that dishonesty is well recognised. The problem is much the same in every field. Godlee’s editorial includes a reference to a 2009 study by Edinburgh researchers. Trawling surveys, they reported “conservatively” that more than 14% of scientists had said they knew of fakery by colleagues and nearly three quarters knew of other questionable practices.

Godlee is not alone in taking this on. In an editorial titled “Face up to fraud”, the editors of Nature wrote last January: “Some fraudulent researchers might be sociopaths who don’t care about the rules. But many others simply believe that they can anticipate the outcome of a research project, and see no downside to fabricating the required results to save time, or tweaking results to achieve a stronger signal.

I could swear that rings a bell about some other research I have read about recently, if only I could remember which field of science it was....

Comments

Is this the warmists saying "of course we cheat, but it's OK because everybody else does too"?

Yep

We will never know the truth about nuclear power nor climate change any more.

Both sides have lied so much we will never know who to believe with objectivity.

Its a real shame. Agreed funding is the source of the corruption. I see it in charity and philanthropy daily.

"The science establishment’s consensus is that there is no need for outside scrutiny" what rubbish. Science has more peer review than just about anything

This is a grey area.

As a young post graduate I did a one year research project at Oxford. On the basis of an experiment that took a term, and which produced the same result when repeated the following term, I was encouraged to draw conclusions which were not justified, having regard to the limited evidence. My supervisor encouraged me to do so because a result looks better than an admission that the work was inconclusive.

Left to myself I would have laced my thesis with more words like "possibly" and "might". The whole result could have been due to other causes entirely such as my washing-up technique or something in the air.

Researchers are under pressure to deliver results if their funding is to continue!

Whilst I am inclined to agree with the general point, I am puzzled as to why the only organisation you have named is the RCC? Are you suggesting that there is no covering-up of hanky panky within the Greek Catholic or Ukrainian Catholic Churches, or the Greek and Russian Orthodox Churches or the Church of England or the Church of Scientology, or the Church of Latter Day Saints or the Jehovah's Witnesses?

And why is any of this surprising considering that Jesus was betrayed by one of his disciples and denied by another?

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