Like everyone else in PFP13F, I’ve been browsing some of the research misconduct cases listed here (http://ori.dhhs.gov/case_summary). I actually pulled up a number 10-15 and read the brief summaries because I was searching for one that seemed to be in my field. My random clicking on names didn’t find one… but what I did notice was that most of the cases seemed to be about some sort of falsification of data in results or plagiarism… in preliminary data for grants… etc. Now, I don’t want to get too rant-y… but, seriously!? I know there will always be people who break the rules… but this kind of behavior makes me wonder how these individuals (often PhDs) made it through so much schooling without that issue coming up and being addressed? Or… just as scary… is the pressure of publishing, of tenure, or performing, so high stakes that we are creating an environment that almost breeds these sort of behavior?
The article on misconduct helped contextualize some of this but still left me shocked. Fraudulent articles having been cited 500 times? 700 times? How many people’s research have been affected by that sort of decision!? How much public funding has supported this fraudulent research?
On the flip side… is this just part of modern competitive culture? Like Lance Armstrong or Roger Clemens and the cycling or baseball performance-enhancing drug scandals?
Thinking from another lens, I was trying to wrap my head around the numbers of cases (the active cases shown are not all the cases from those years, as the disclaimer on the site states)… does this seem to be more than we would expect? Less? What percentage do we think remains uninvestigated/unnoticed? These are interesting questions I have from looking at documents for this week’s class… I look forward to discussing!