A growing body of evidence suggests that research misconduct has been rising steadily over the last few decades. The mass media have sensationalized high profile cases of scientific fraud. Several surveys have attempted to define the incidence of scientific misconduct, but the available evidence is unreliable owing mostly to underreporting of misconduct . An indirect indication of the extent of research misconduct is the incidence of article retractions from the scientific literature, which is tracked by the Retraction Watch database. Among science journals the number of retractions rose from 114 in the 5-year period 1990–1994 to 10 738 in the corresponding period 2010–2014, a 94-fold increase . A well-known survey of early- and mid-career scientists found that 33% said they had engaged in serious misconduct in the previous 3 years . The apparent growth in misconduct may be merely an artefact of increased focus on the issue or it may be real, but the question of a recent surge is not as important as the fact that misconduct is widespread and undermines the foundation of science, which is built on honest and transparent investigation.
Ethics, Health policy, Professional affairs
Sade, R. M., Rylski, B., Swain, J. A., Entwistle, J. W. C., Ceppa, D. P. & Members of the Cardiothoracic Ethics Forum who contributed to this work, for the Cardiothoracic Ethics Forum, Transatlantic editorial (2020) Institutional investigations of ethically flawed reports in cardiothoracic surgery journals, European Journal of Cardio-Thoracic Surgery, Volume 57, Issue 4, April 2020, Pages 617–619, https://doi.org/10.1093/ejcts/ezz366
Publisher (Open Access): https://academic.oup.com/ejcts/article/57/4/617/5716498