Scientific Misconduct: Falsification, Fabrication, and Misappropriation of Credit
Much published science, especially biomedical science, is not reproducible.
While most of this is likely due to sloppy research practices, part of it is due to deliberate falsification or fabrication of data, i.e., research misconduct. Plagiarism is also a form of misconduct, and although it might not cause errors to enter the literature, it undermines trust, creates inefficiencies, and deters honest researchers from careers in science. While a growing number of papers are being retracted, and the biggest reason for retractions is misconduct, it is not clear whether there is an increase in the incidence of misconduct, an increase in awareness, or both. Authors, readers, reviewers, editors, publishers, and institutions all have responsibilities in detecting and managing misconduct and correcting the literature. To improve the situation, the incentives to fabricate need to be reduced, and rewards for authors, readers, reviewers, editors, publishers, and institutions who do the right thing should be increased. Every country needs to establish research integrity bodies to provide advice and oversight, collect data, and improve codes of practice.
KeywordsJournal Editor Research Integrity Research Misconduct Scientific Misconduct Fire Alarm
The author would like to thank Ivan Oransky for constructive comments and the NHMRC (Grants 1016701 and 1020136) for funding. This work was made possible through Victorian State Government Operational Infrastructure Support and Australian Government NHMRC Independent Research Institute Infrastructure Support Scheme (IRIISS) Grant 361646.
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