Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Is Scientific Misconduct More Prevalent Than We Think?

So I visited the blog Retraction Watch today for the first time (why write a blog on retractions? Read the author's explanation here), and was surprised at the frequency of fairly significant retractions/investigations into scientific publications. The authors themselves write in the FAQs that "although [they] didn’t predict this, it’s been a struggle to even keep up with retractions as they happen".

For those of you who haven't heard of Retraction Watch before, it is an independent undertaking by Adam Marcus and Ivan Oransky where they report on recent retractions or investigations into scientific misconduct, etc. of papers published in scientific journals in the life sciences.

Headlines included a professor having a seventh (!) paper retracted, many 'accidental' duplicate publications, the Moriguchi stem-cell transplant debunking, and a researcher who discovered that almost half of a paper that he had previously published had been plagiarized by a paper in the same journal where the original was published.

I wanted to include something substantial here because I haven't updated in a few days, but I think it would be appropriate to redirect you, dear reader, to a Science 2.0 article that I wrote two months ago when the PNAS article about scientific misconduct came out.

Read the full article here, and let me know what you think!

The original PNAS paper citation: Ferric C. Fang, R. Grant Steen, and Arturo Casadevall. Misconduct accounts for the majority of retracted scientific publications. PNAS 2012 ; published ahead of print October 1, 2012,doi:10.1073/pnas.1212247109

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