Rendiconti Lincei

, Volume 26, Issue 3, pp 369–382 | Cite as

Scientific misconduct: the dark side of science

  • Ernesto Carafoli
Today's Topics in Sciences


Misconduct in science has always occurred, but has increased dramatically in recent times. A number of reasons have contributed to the phenomenon: the enormous expansion of the population of researchers not accompanied by an equivalent increase of the funds available; the explosive development of research in new geographical areas in which research was quantitatively minor until a few years ago; the proliferation of predatory open access Journals that publish articles without analysis of their merit provided that the Authors agree to the payment of frequently substantial publication fees; the faulty use of statistical analysis of the results, which affects predominantly the biological-medical research in which research variability is intrinsically present. All these reasons have had a role, but the most important among them is the “publish or perish” atmosphere that has now pervaded science, in which publishing a high profile paper is the factor that decides whether a researcher will have a successful career or is forced out of science. A number of technical measures are now increasingly trying to ameliorate the situation, however, only the end of the unhealthy scrambling to publish at all costs, and to do so in the high profile journals that now dominate the world of science will heal it completely and conclusively.


Misconduct Fraud Plagiarism Statistical analysis Retractions 



The author wishes to acknowledge the help of Marta Codato and Andrea Nicoletto for her help with the text and the figures.


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Copyright information

© Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Venetian Institute of Molecular MedicinePaduaItaly

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