Survey Shows Rash of Fraud in Scientific Papers

Survey Shows Rash of Fraud in Scientific Papers
November 26, 2012

James M. Taylor

James M. Taylor is senior fellow for environment and energy policy at The Heartland Institute, and... (read full bio)

Scientific misconduct, such as fraud and suspected fraud, is responsible for two-thirds of retractions of papers published in life-science journals, concludes a survey published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The survey found more than 2,000 papers retracted after publication. Fraud accounted for 43 percent of retractions. Duplicate publication and plagiarism accounted for another 24 percent of retractions. Only one-third of the retractions were the result innocent error.

The survey found fraud among scientific papers is becoming more frequent in recent decades. Since 1975, fraud has increased ten-fold.

The survey also found fraud is more frequent in high-profile journals than in low-profile journals.The survey results illustrate how scientists, like the rest of us, are merely human and subject to the same character flaws as other people.

The survey is discussed in-depth at http://www.nature.com/news/misconduct-is-the-main-cause-of-life-sciences-retractions-1.11507.  

James M. Taylor

James M. Taylor is senior fellow for environment and energy policy at The Heartland Institute, and... (read full bio)