Tag Archives: misconduct

A new study has found that scientific misconduct and fraud is on the rise.

A new study has found that scientific misconduct and fraud is on the rise.

A review of retractions in medical and biological peer-reviewed journals finds the percentage of studies withdrawn because of fraud or suspected fraud has jumped substantially since the mid-1970s. In 1976, there were fewer than 10 fraud retractions for every 1 million studies published, compared with 96 retractions per million in 2007.

The study’s authors suggest that the high pressure of big science might be a cause, combined with an overall decline in our culture itself. I wonder if the influence of government money, granted not because of good science but in the service of a political agenda, might also be a contributing factor.

Whistle-blower claims his accusations cost him his job

A whistle-blower from a Wisconsin research lab claims his accusations cost him his job.

After months of friction that culminated in his openly questioning the reproducibility of data published by his supervisor, a postdoc at the University of Wisconsin–Madison’s zoology department was presented with three options. The department’s chairman said he could wait to be fired, resign voluntarily or accept a “gracious exit strategy” that would give him time to prepare a paper for publication, if he dropped his “scientific misconduct issues”.

When geneticist Aaron Taylor objected that the third option sounded like a “plea bargain” meant to discourage him from pressing his concerns about the lab’s data, the chairman, Jeffrey Hardin disagreed. But Hardin also said: “I think you’d have to decide which is more important to you.” He later added: “You have to decide whether you want to kind of engage in whistle-blowing.” [emphasis mine]