Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Scientific Misconduct in Medicine: A Pox On Us!

Source: Nature.com
Here are two disturbing reports published in the British Medical Journal about  the falsification of scientific data in medical research. One report is a survey of research misconduct among Dutch physicians while the other is on scientific misconduct in the UK.

I fortuitously came across the above reports after reading this thought provoking post by Eli Parencevich on the retraction rate of scientific articles, particularly in high impact journals.

The motives behinds scientific misconduct are multiple and include career advancement, recognition and the opportunity for larger, more prestigious grants. This is compounded by a peer-review process that is not sufficiently rigorous to uncover errors in methodology as described here in the Economist.

When the scientific method is corrupted by falsification, bias and conflict of interest, there is a betrayal of trust in science and medicine and a resultant compromise of the common good. 

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