Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Scientific misconduct is real, but rare

Date:
February 13, 2013
Source:
Boston University College of Arts & Sciences
Summary:
While instances of scientific misconduct in the publication of research findings is a matter of serious concern, such occurrences are extremely rare, according to new research.

Richard Primack, Boston University professor of biology and editor-in-chief of the journal Biological Conservation, observes in the current issue of that publication that while instances of scientific misconduct in the publication of research findings is a matter of serious concern, such occurrences are extremely rare. Primack shares his views on this matter in an editorial in the current issue of Biological Conservation.

Primack's observations are related to a case where certain results from a paper published in Biological Conservation had to be removed and the paper revised because data provided by one of the authors could not be verified. This is part of on-going scandal involving a Spanish wildlife ecologist in which many papers have been retracted "Readers of this journal and other scientific journals might be concerned that this example and others reported in the press and scientific outlets suggest that scientific misconduct may be both widespread and increasing," says Primack. "However, we at Biological Conservation come to a very different conclusion."

To make his point, Primack cites a study (Steen, 2010; http://retractionwatch.wordpress.com/) that suggests retractions of scientific papers occur at a rate of 1-3 papers per 10,000 published. "This is the first case of serious scientific misconduct that we have seen over the past nine years of the journal, during which time around 2000 papers have been published," says Primack.

Primack acknowledges that instances of scientific misconduct are cause for concern, and cites a number of other recent cases that vary in severity, but these in effect are exceptions that prove the rule. "We have encountered a small number of papers that present ethical issues, but fall somewhat short of real scientific misconduct." Recognizing it is possible there are undetected cases of misconduct, Primack argues that the likelihood of this is low: Over the years, these would have been discovered if they existed.

While Primack and his colleagues at Biological Conservation remain vigilant over the issue of scientific misconduct, their overall experience is that the vast majority of the scientific community maintains the highest ethical standards. Says Primack, "Considering the approximately 2000 papers that we have published in recent years, and the roughly 8000 papers that we have received and reviewed, this present case of scientific misconduct is not at all representative. Such cases of scientific misconduct are extremely rare, which is probably why they are so highly publicized when they occur."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Boston University College of Arts & Sciences. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Richard B. Primack. Scientific misconduct occurs, but is rare. Biological Conservation, 2013; 157: iii DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2013.01.005

Cite This Page:

Boston University College of Arts & Sciences. "Scientific misconduct is real, but rare." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 February 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130213152118.htm>.
Boston University College of Arts & Sciences. (2013, February 13). Scientific misconduct is real, but rare. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 2, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130213152118.htm
Boston University College of Arts & Sciences. "Scientific misconduct is real, but rare." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130213152118.htm (accessed September 2, 2014).

Share This




More Science & Society News

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Thousands of Fish Dead in Mexico Lake

Raw: Thousands of Fish Dead in Mexico Lake

AP (Sep. 2, 2014) Over 53 tons of rotting fish have been removed from Lake Cajititlan in western Jalisco state. Authorities say that the thousands of fish did not die of natural causes. (Sep. 2) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
U.N. Says Ebola Travel Restrictions Will Cause Food Shortage

U.N. Says Ebola Travel Restrictions Will Cause Food Shortage

Newsy (Sep. 2, 2014) The U.N. says the problem is two-fold — quarantine zones and travel restrictions are limiting the movement of both people and food. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Get on Your Bike! London Cycling Popularity Soars Despite Danger

Get on Your Bike! London Cycling Popularity Soars Despite Danger

AFP (Sep. 1, 2014) Wedged between buses, lorries and cars, cycling in London isn't for the faint hearted. Nevertheless the number of people choosing to bike in the British capital has doubled over the past 15 years. Duration: 02:27 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Thailand Totters Towards Waste Crisis

Thailand Totters Towards Waste Crisis

AFP (Sep. 1, 2014) Fears are mounting in Bangkok that poor planning and lax law enforcement are tipping Thailand towards a waste crisis. Duration: 01:21 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins