Many graduate students and researchers feel pressure to show results and are in a race to publish as many high-impact journal papers as possible. It’s important to remember that even though we may feel pressured to constantly make visible progress we need to do that via truthful means. I would rather take an extra few months to publish a paper than to publish one with falsified information. Another thing worthy of noting is that while papers can be regarded as “visible progress”, we also make “invisible progress” by fixing our theory, doing a literature review, sorting references, setting up for experiments, etc. There is a lot of behind-the-scenes work that goes into writing journal manuscripts and dissertations, and we should be proud of those accomplishments as well.
After looking at the ORI website, I decided to choose a research misconduct case to write about. It appears that this graduate student gave in to the pressure of showing results and fabricated data that was used in his own Ph.D. dissertation, as well as a poster presentation and grant applications. He knowingly presented falsified gene sequencing results. This person then entered into a voluntary exclusion agreement. They agreed that for three years they would exclude themself from contracting or subcontracting with any agency of the US Government and abstain from serving in any advisory capacity to PHS.
As I mentioned earlier, I think this person may have felt immense pressure to quickly publish a paper or perhaps they wanted to be the first in their field to publish on a specific topic. While it may have worked for them in the short term, their credibility as a researcher is now questionable and their prospects at future positions could be very low. Nothing is worth sacrificing your integrity and reputation for. It’s best to have honest results that take longer to obtain than to have falsified results for two minutes of fame.
Link to the case: https://ori.hhs.gov/case-summary-sen-shiladitya