Monday, May 7, 2007

More Science Drama

Seems there's plenty of scientific misconduct to go around. And it looks like Asia has been very, very, naughty (or at least a few of her nationals have been representing thier mother continent poorly.)

Here are some quick links to a number of recent articles publshed in Science Magazine.
Japan's Universities Take Action
Former Hwang Colleague Faked Monkey Data, U.S. Says
Online Sleuths Challenge Cell Paper
How Young Korean Researchers Helped Unearth a Scandal …

Interestingly, there may be a reason why it is happening. The pressure to perform. This doesn't justify the dishonesty. But it does help us understand why. Read SEED magazine's article about such issues: Scientists Behaving Badly

And there may be insight into why such cases of academic dishonesty and scientific misconduct can go undetected -- the process of peer-review as it currently exists. Fellow scientists check to see if the submitted research is interested and important, not necessarily factual. Fellow scientists can't possibly know if the data has been mismanaged, altered or made up. If it sounds plausible, then all is fine. Learn more here: And How the Problems Eluded Peer Reviewers and Editors
Usually, the first line of defense to dishonesty is within the researcher's own lab. If the lead researcher is repressive then this can limit honest discourse about the project and discourage subordinates from speaking up to others. After all, the lead researcher may hold the strings to the younger researcher's career or visa (if she/he is a foreign national).

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