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ResourcesResearch Integrity“Do we have the will to do anything about it?” James Heathers reflects on the Eysenck case – Retraction Watch (James Heathers | October 2019)

Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS)

“Do we have the will to do anything about it?” James Heathers reflects on the Eysenck case – Retraction Watch (James Heathers | October 2019)

Published/Released on October 07, 2019 | Posted by Admin on November 12, 2019 / , , , , ,
 


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We have a tension about resolving inaccuracies in scientific documents when they’re past a certain age.

The Hans Eysenck’s case is a useful and fruitful case for talking about the societal impacts of research misconduct, and to talk about fabrication and conflicts of interest, but it should also be used as a prompt for a proportional response to breaches and our shared responsibilities with regard to research integrity.

Specifically, what should we do with old papers that are shown to be not just wrong, which is a fate that will befall most of them, but seriously misleading, fatally flawed, or overwhelmingly likely to be fabricated, i.e. when they reach the (very high) threshold we set for retraction?
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To my way of thinking, there are three components of this:
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(1) the continuing use of the documents themselves as citable objects in contemporary research – some research stays current and relevant, other research is consigned to obscurity, or is so completely superseded that it has no bearing on contemporary research whatsoever.
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(2) the profile of the authors – some authors of such documents are alive, famous, and have theories with contemporary relevance. Others are dead, obscure, and have theories which have no continuation in any other papers. Like it or not, these authors are treated differently.
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