Besteht die Lösung des Problems also darin, Wissenschaftsbetrug härter zu sanktionieren? Schaden würde das sicher nicht. Schließlich kann man die Fälle, in denen bislang Strafen verhängt wurden, an einer Hand abzählen. Wissenschaftsbetrug wird also nicht nur selten aufgedeckt, sondern noch seltener geahndet.
Müssen wir mehr gute wissenschaftliche Praxis lehren und trainieren? Auch das ist eine gute Idee, aber sehr viel nützen wird es wohl nicht. …
Brauchen wir vielleicht eine Wissenschaftspolizei, die unangekündigte Kontrollen von Western Blots und Festplatten in Laboren durchführt? Ganz sicher nicht! Moderne Wissenschaft ist viel zu komplex …
Ein viel naheliegender Ansatz zur Abhilfe ist es, sich dem Kern des Problems anzunehmen und das toxische Karriere- und Bewertungssystem zu reformieren – also Forscher nicht auf Basis fragwürdiger Metriken, sondern mit Fokus auf Forschungsqualität, Inhalte und dem tatsächlichen wissenschaftlichen oder gesellschaftlichen Impact zu beurteilen.
created a fake researcher (Marco Alberto Pantani-Contador — a reference to two infamous cyclists, Marco Pantani and Alberto Contador, each of whom was accused of blood doping). Copying and pasting text from a website, adding a few figures and graphs and lots and lots of self-citations … created six fake documents, translated them into English using Google Translate, and uploaded them to a new webpage under their university’s domain. It was a process, the authors explain, that took less than half a day’s work.
Having a discussion recently with the editor of a small journal, I think it is worth to repeat that withdrawal of a paper is not always a sign of deliberate fraud as it could be just an honest error. Science had an analysis last year of the retractiondatabase that clearly showed the relationship.
It is a bit annoying. If you google for science delusion, you are only referred to Sheldrake. But this is not what I wanted, I was more interested in mad scientists. Not Frankenstein, not Moreau not Dr. Faustus not any literary character, some more real life figures. Also not Venter. But here comes something interesting
In 1951, entomologist Jay Traver published in the Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Washington [Traver, J. (1951). Unusual scalp dermatitis in humans caused by the mite, dermatophagoides (Acarina, epidermoptidae). Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Washington, 53(1), 1-25.] her personal experiences with a mite infestation of her scalp that resisted all treatment and was undetectable to anyone other than herself. Traver is recognized as having suffered from Delusory Parasitosis: her paper shows her to be a textbook case of the condition. The Traver paper is unique in the scientific literature in that its conclusions may be based on data that was unconsciously fabricated by the author’s mind.
The author ( Matan Shelomi, Mad Scientist: The Unique Case of a Published Delusion Matan Shelomi, Sci Eng Ethics (2013) 19:381-388) believes that a possible retraction of the 1951 paper raises the issue of discrimination against the mentally ill – others may consider this as delusionary correctness.
Retractions are increasing anytime I look around retraction watch. A new PNAS paper now has the most thorough analysis of retractions:
A detailed review of all 2,047 biomedical and life-science research articles indexed by PubMed as retracted on May 3, 2012 revealed that only 21.3% of retractions were attributable to error. In contrast, 67.4% of retractions were attributable to misconduct, including fraud or suspected fraud (43.4%), duplicate publication (14.2%), and plagiarism (9.8%) …fraud has increased ∼10-fold since 1975.
Papers are not sacred – this what I have been advocating even after having personal distress after commenting on a PLoS ONE paper. Nevertheless, the new Nature editorial supports my view
What is needed, instead, is a system of publication that is more meritocratic in its evaluation of performance and productivity in the sciences. It should expand the record of a scientific study past an individual paper, including additional material such as worthy blog posts about the results, media coverage and the number of times that the paper has been downloaded.