Tag Archives: Scientific misconduct

EU trachea transplant clinical trial TETRA “uncertain to take place”

The scandal of regenerative medicine surgeon Paolo Macchiarini and his deadly plastic tracheas made world news. Yet this human abuse, which started at the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden, was just a part of a much bigger horror story. The suffering and deaths of other trachea transplant patients of Macchiarini and his collaborators, those who received a decellurised cadaveric trachea, is much less known. I focused my reporting on it, bringing back to memory all those dead patients which the hospitals in London, Florence and Barcelona pretend never existed. Presently, 62 patients were scheduled to be treated with decellurised cadaveric trachea in two phase 1 clinical trials in UK and one EU-funded phase 2 clinical trial, all led by former Macchiarini partner, UCL laryngologist Martin Birchall. But now, all 3 clinical trials are not going anywhere. Read more [...]

Scientific integrity: dropping points

Scientific integrity has become a major issue in scientific research. The debate about scientific fraud, plagiarism, and other forms of scientific misconduct has its origin in some highly publicised cases of eminent scientists accused of publishing fake data. These observations raise many questions. One of the known misconducts is the deliberate dropping of data points, acknowledged by 15% of scientists surveyed in recently published integrity studies asking them about their behaviour in the previous three years. This misconduct originates in a wrong understanding of what scientific knowledge is, and how it is progressively constructed, argues Michel Morange, director of the Centre Cavaillès for History and Philosophy of Sciences at the Ecole normale supérieure, Paris, France. Read more [...]

Macchiarini scandal: overstepping the research ethics mark

A star scientist overstating the outcome of his pioneering transplant experiments may be worrying. But when these experiments are performed in humans, used a guinea pigs, before laboratory research proves the validity of the approach, we have a recipe for disaster. The recent Macchiarini scandal has led to one of the most shocking case of scientific misconduct in recent years. It reveals a lot about the vanity culture pervading some fields of research. Our outlook on what constitutes success in research may need to be revised. Read more [...]

Shaping tomorrow’s research integrity

The ultimate responsibility for good research practice lies with individual researchers. However, such practice can only flourish in a favourable research and funding environment. According to the findings of the latest report from Science Europe, who surveyed its members on research integrity policies and practice, there are still a number of measures that research organisations and funding agencies can take to guarantee a higher level of research integrity. Read on to learn about the Science Europe working group findings and recommendations. Read more [...]

What funding agencies and journals can do to prevent sloppy science

In May 2017, the 5th World Conference on Research Integrity will take place in Amsterdam. It will provide an opportunity to discuss concrete actions that can be adopted by funding angencies and scientific journals to improve the overall quality and integrity of research. In this opinion piece, Lex Bouter, professor of methodology and integrity at VU University Medical Center in The Netherlands sets the scene for the conference. Read more [...]

Ethics, values and culture driving research

This issue will dive into the darkest corner of what scientific minds are capable of contriving to get to the goal of being funded and progressing in their career. By reading this special issue, you will find out the damage inflicted on science by scientists neglecting to follow the very essence of scientific endeavour, based on integrity. One lesson is clear. Regardless of personal responsibility, it is essential to examine the failings of the scientific process in the context of the values and the culture influencing scientists. Read more [...]

Gaming the system: who is responsible?

Blaming increase in fraud and unethical behaviour observed in science on a lack of rigour among the emerging ranks of PhDs may appear blatantly reductionist and reactionary. In fact, some might argue that we have been looking and detecting misconduct more systematically than ever before. At the same time, there is a growing movement to raise awareness of scientists’ responsibilities and better equip them to face the pressures to publish more and seek extra funding. Yet, scientists do not exist in a vacuum. They are the product of an educational and research system with values that heavily influences their choices. Read more [...]

From fraudsters to fudgers: research integrity is on trial

Bad behaviour is omnipresent in science. It encompasses everything from outright scientific fraud, such as falsifying data, to other misconducts like cherry-picking data, favourable-looking images and graphs, and drawing conclusions that are not backed up by the actual facts. Overall, it matters more serious than keeping a sloppy lab notebook that no-one else can follow. This raises the deeper question: what drives scientists to behave in such a way? Read more [...]

Does media coverage of research misconduct affect public confidence in science?

The SOM Institute at the University of Gothenburg conducts annual surveys of the Swedish public. It explores, among other things, media consumption, confidence in societal institutions and different professional groups. Since 2002, an independent and influential Swedish non-profit membership organisation that works to promote dialogue and openness between researchers and the public called Vetenskap & Allmänhet—which stands for Public and Science—has added a section to the SOM survey to study public confidence in science and scientists. The results of a study, which examines the hypothesis that media reports of research misconduct will have an impact on public confidence in science and scientists, are about to be uncovered at the ESOF 2014 conference, in June, in Copenhagen, Denmark. Read more [...]

Rare scientific misconducts cost us our reputation

Just a couple of weeks ago Marc Hauser was in the news, again. He is known as one of the world's leading evolutionary biologists and teaches at the Psychology Department at Harvard University. His work focused on primate behaviour and animal cognition. Hauser has been awarded science medals from the US and France and he has published about 200 articles in research journals. However, the latest news coverage is based on accusations against Hauser as the Harvard faculty suspend him while investigations are carried out for "scientific misdemeanour".
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