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ResourcesResearch IntegrityHow Universities Cover Up Scientific Fraud – Areo (Justin T Pickett | February 2020)

Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS)

How Universities Cover Up Scientific Fraud – Areo (Justin T Pickett | February 2020)

Published/Released on February 20, 2020 | Posted by Admin on March 1, 2020 / , , , , , ,

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I learned a hard lesson last year, after blowing the whistle on my coauthor, mentor and friend: not all universities can be trusted to investigate accusations of fraud, or even to follow their own misconduct policies. Then I found out how widespread the problem is: experts have been sounding the alarm for over thirty years.

Whistleblower points to a pattern of faux investigations into research misconduct aimed at protecting the host institution.

One in fifty scientists fakes research by fabricating or falsifying data. They make off with government grant money, which they share with their universities, and their made-up findings guide medical practice, public policy and ordinary people’s decisions about things like whether or not to vaccinate their children. The fraudulent science we know about has caused thousands of deaths and wasted millions in taxpayer dollars. That is only scratching the surface, however—because most fraudsters are never caught. As Ivan Oransky notes in Gaming the Metrics, “the most common outcome for those who commit fraud is: a long career.”

There are two reasons for this. First, many scientists who witness fraud don’t report it, because they believe nothing would happen if they did and they fear retaliation. Second, when fraud is reported, the job of investigating it falls to the fraudsters’ universities. Most whistleblowers inform their universities directly. Even if they don’t, federal agencies, like the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health, refer fraud accusations back to universities for investigation, and publishers and the Committee on Publication Ethics tell journal editors to do the same.

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