NSF voids punishment of scientists who committed plagiarism and data fabrication

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An inspector general report has found that the National Science Foundation has routinely cancelled or reduced the punishments of scientists who had committed either plagiarism or data fabrication, allowing them to continue to get grants and advise the government.

The inspector general for the National Science Foundation identified at least 23 instances of plagiarism in proposals, NSF-funded research, and agency publications in 2015 and 2016. It found at least eight instances of data manipulation and fabrication in those years. NSF officials disregarded recommended sanctions against some of the scientists and academics implicated in those findings. Though many were temporarily barred from receiving additional federal funding, nearly all will be eligible for taxpayer support and official roles in NSF-funded research in the future.

In one investigation that concluded in Nov. 2015, the IG found that an NSF-supported researcher had “knowingly plagiarized text into five NSF proposals.”

“These actions were a significant departure from the standards of the research community, and therefore constituted research misconduct,” according to a report on the investigation’s findings.

No wonder the public has become very skeptical of government science. Worse, by turning a blind eye to this bad behavior the National Science Foundation ends up giving a black eye to all science.


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  • wayne

    A repeat from me, posted in a different thread, referencing Taleb’s view that so-called “experts,” are the problem.

    “Of Black Swans and Intellectual Fallacies”
    Nassim Taleb January 2017

  • wayne

    “This is (one of) the reason(s), we can’t have “good things.””

    These “experts” confuse our collective general support & largess of/for Science, for being stupid-in-general.
    There was a time when being tagged a plagiarizer & fraud would completely destroy your career.

    Now, you’re just as likely to get promoted and funded, even more.

    [I would note, Tom Billing’s has written extensive commentary here at BtB, on the Principal-Agent Problem, and this appears to me to be an example of such, not to mention Moral Hazzard.]

  • Jake V

    LOL. It’s not about the nature of the evidence that supports global warming, it’s about the seriousness of the charge.

  • Edward

    Jake V wrote: “It’s not about the nature of the evidence that supports global warming, it’s about the seriousness of the charge.
    In science, data fabrication is a serious charge. Too bad the National Science Foundation does not think so, when it comes to the support of global warming. It leads to a lack of integrity of climate science and science in general. This quality control problem is one of the reasons why skeptics rightly remain skeptical.

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