Those of us concerned about the decaying credibility of Big Science were dismayed to learn that the whistleblower site¬†Science Fraud¬†has been shut down due to a barrage of legal threats against its operator. With billions of dollars in federal science funding hinging on the integrity of academic researchers, and billions more in health care dollars riding on the truthfulness of pharmaceutical research claims, the industry needs more websites like this, not fewer. . . .
. . .¬†Science Fraud,¬†in its six months of operation, documented egregiously suspicious research results published in over 300 peer reviewed publications. Many were subsequently retracted, including a¬†paper¬†by an author whose lawyer sent¬†Science Fraud¬†a cease and desist letter.
Given the tens of millions of dollars in misappropriated research funds that financed this small sample of what is surely a larger problem and the cascading pollution of the scientific literature whenever fraudulent publications get cited, it‚Äôs a shame that this tip-of-of-the-iceberg effort at cleansing the muck is being shut down rather than expanded. . . .
Fraud, plagiarism, cherry-picked results, poor or non-existent controls, confirmation bias, opaque, missing, or unavailable data, and stonewalling when questioned have gone from being rare to being everyday occurrences. Just look at the¬†soaring retraction level¬†. . . .
When I first began looking into the increasingly vexing problem of irreproducible scientific research I assumed that the bulk of the problem was caused by sloppy science. Not so, says a National Academy of Sciences¬†study¬†that attributes two thirds of the retractions in the biomedical and life-sciences to scientific misconduct. And remember, these are only the people that have gotten caught.
The last link explains that “scientific misconduct” includes “fraud or suspected fraud (43.4%), duplicate publication (14.2%), and plagiarism (9.8%).”