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Your BLADDR challenge

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Your case challenge

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You answered: B
You answered: B
A) Assume the “whistleblower” is a disgruntled or jealous former partner of the first author who is set on revenge
B) Assume the “whistleblower” is correct and retract the article out of concern for the journal’s reputation
C) Challenge the first author with the accusations
D) Follow a process laid out by the Committee on Publishing Ethics
E) Call the police

Zietman’s 2 cents


Scientific misconduct is probably as old as science itself. The chances are real that you have (or will) come across some form of scientific misconduct somewhere along your own career – as a witness of course, not as the subject of the misconduct (that goes without saying). Indeed, in a meta-analysis of surveys, 2% of scientists admitted to have fabricated, falsified or modified data or results at least once [Fanelli D. PLoS One 2009;4:e5738). But when asked about the behaviour of their colleagues, admission rates increased to 14% for falsification, and 72% for other questionable research practices.

Despite journal guidelines and the establishment of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) the number of articles published on this subject does not appear to drop:  



Figure: The number of Pubmed search results for “scientific misconduct”

So, what would you do when faced with possible scientific fraud? A small-scale study by Wager in 2007 investigated 79 cases of possible fraud referred to COPE between 1998 and 2003 [Wager E. Med Law 2007;26:535-44]. Of the 49 cases with a reported outcome:
  • Authors were exonerated: 33%
  • Authors were reprimanded: 35%
  • Impasse (no or no satisfactory response): 33%

In addition, the author’s institution was contacted in almost half the cases.

Want to hear my thoughts and challenge me? Come and listen to my keynote “Fabrication, falsehood & plagiarism: the unholy trinity of scientific misbehaviour” on 24 October at 5pm in Paris!  


As BLADDR participant, you can attend this lecture for free and discuss further during the networking reception for PROSCA & BLADDR participants.  
 


Zietman’s 2 cents

Scientific misconduct is probably as old as science itself. The chances are real that you have (or will) come across some form of scientific misconduct somewhere along your own career – as a witness of course, not as the subject of the misconduct (that goes without saying). Indeed, in a meta-analysis of surveys, 2% of scientists admitted to have fabricated, falsified or modified data or results at least once [Fanelli D. PLoS One 2009;4:e5738). But when asked about the behaviour of their colleagues, admission rates increased to 14% for falsification, and 72% for other questionable research practices.

Despite journal guidelines and the establishment of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) the number of articles published on this subject does not appear to drop:  



Figure: The number of Pubmed search results for “scientific misconduct”

So, what would you do when faced with possible scientific fraud? A small-scale study by Wager in 2007 investigated 79 cases of possible fraud referred to COPE between 1998 and 2003 [Wager E. Med Law 2007;26:535-44]. Of the 49 cases with a reported outcome:
  • Authors were exonerated: 33%
  • Authors were reprimanded: 35%
  • Impasse (no or no satisfactory response): 33%

In addition, the author’s institution was contacted in almost half the cases.

Want to hear my thoughts and challenge me? Come and listen to my keynote “Fabrication, falsehood & plagiarism: the unholy trinity of scientific misbehaviour” on 24 October at 5pm in Paris!

As BLADDR participant, you can attend this lecture for free and discuss further during the networking reception for PROSCA & BLADDR participants.

Do you have an interesting case of your own?

Up to 3 case reports will be selected by the scientific committee for discussion in the official programme of BLADDR 2019.
 

Submit your case




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