Archive for June, 2013

The number of retractions is way below the level at which they should be occurring. Vested self-interest of authors, institutions and journals mean that where we should have a retraction, we have a correction. These are not corrections of mistakes, but of misconduct/fraud. If our undergraduate students produce work of this sort, they get a zero. We should also consider the effect on our graduate students and postdocs. Out comes a paper in their field, they read it and get totally depressed. Why? Because some fraudster has got a paper in a “major” journal (aka one that guarantees a thesis or a tenured position) and it is clearly wrong, e.g., re-used data, copied and pasted, for different experimental conditions. Some years later they may see a “correction”. What do they do? Stay in science, remaining true to the messiness of data, become tempted to cheat or leave through disillusion? We are killing off the lifeblood of science through pandering to vested self-interest and turning a blind eye to corruption. (more…)

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