Retraction Expert: Some scientists lie for the “greater good”

It may be true that scientists who fabricate or falsify data believe they know the “right” answer in advance of the data, and that they will soon have the data necessary to support their favored conclusion.  It may therefore seem legitimate to these scientists to engage in misconduct; they are simply saving time.  They may even be convinced that they are serving the greater good by pushing a bold “truth” into print.  But humans are so prone to misperception that the process of scientific discovery has been developed to protect us from the malign consequences of wishful thinking.  Measurement validation, hypothesis testing, random allocation of subjects, blinding of outcome assessment, replication of results, referee and peer review, and open sharing of trade secrets are crucial to establish the truth of a scientific idea.  If these careful processes are subverted through misconduct, published scientific results become prone to retraction.

via Journal to feature special issue on scientific misconduct, seeks submissions | Retraction Watch.

 

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