A scandal involving years of fabricated Alzheimer’s research and millions in grant money has placed academic practice under a microscope.
When Retraction Watch was set up in 2010 by Adam Marcus and Ivan Oransky, the idea of highlighting academic malfeasance was seen as unusual. Researchers didn’t peddle disinformation: they were the arbiters of truth, and the custodians of society’s collective knowledge.
This piece looks at the commentary from the Retraction Watch team on the sorry state of research outputs from Alzheimer’s work. It is concerning the bad run of research misconduct cases from the Alzheimer’s field.
The scale is increasing alongside the severity of the potential fabrication. Just last month, Science published an investigation that alleges dozens of papers looking at Alzheimer’s could contain signs of fabricated information.
It doesn’t surprise Oransky, co-founder of Retraction Watch. “The ways to commit some kind of misconduct are almost becoming industrialized or mechanized,” he says. “They’re certainly capturing a lot of attention now, which is frankly a good thing. But there have been lots of problems in the scientific literature for decades, and you could argue centuries.”