Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Scientific Scandal: 20,000 Fraudulent Papers Published Yearly!

Have you ever heard the phrase "don't believe everything you read"? It turns out this expression is more true than ever and it certainly applies to science papers!
An investigation now reveals that as many as 20,000 published scientific papers each year are fraudulent.
Scientists falsify their work more often than you thought! Embarrassing is the word!
Writing in Nature, science journalist Colin Macilwain, discusses the shocking fact of how scientific misconduct has become a depressing reality.
"Considerable hard data have emerged on the scale of misconduct. A metastudy (D. Fanelli PLoS ONE 4, e5738; 2009) and a detailed screening of all images in papers accepted by The Journal of Cell Biology (M. Rossner The Scientist 20 (3), 24; 2006) each suggest that roughly 1% of published papers are fraudulent. That would be about 20,000 papers worldwide each year," Macilwain writes.

Fortunately, science institutions are starting to be more skeptical about what their researchers publish, and many countries are pushing for better scientific misconduct investigations. "Two major studies to be released in the next year reflect this shift in attitude. Significantly, they have been instigated by leading scientists.
One study, by the InterAcademy Council, is looking at international aspects of misconduct.
The second study, by the US National Academy of Sciences, will report in 2013. It is likely to call for far-reaching changes in how US agencies define and police misconduct."
Since the 2000 decree, agencies have regarded only 'falsification, fabrication and plagiarism' as misconduct: the academy may call for this definition to be widened in line with an emerging global consensus to include most other sorts of unethical behaviour, such as falsely attributed authorship."
About 20,000 scientific papers are published every year!
According to Macilwain scientific misconduct is a worldwide problem. Scientists are aware of that misconduct exists and that, unchecked, it can undermine public regard for science and scientists. Fraudulent scientific papers have been published in UK, USA, Canada, South Korea, Germany, the Netherlands and elsewhere.
However, in some countries like Germany for example, is still difficult for institutions to sanction proven fraudsters.
Macilwain points out that "current scientific leaders have the opportunity to take the initiative and stamp down hard on fraud."
Scientists are loosing credibility, but have now a good opportunity to deal with what is, perhaps, the single most potent threat to science's prestige.