The Surgical Skeptic
Sunday, 17 June 2012
Doctors doctoring the research: fraud and error
I have been reading about publication retractions. They are scientific-speak for Whoops. This can either mean Whoops, I made a mistake (error), or Whoops, you caught me (fraud). It is sometimes hard to distinguish between them. Either way, it is another example of published research that is wrong, and it looks like there is little we can do to stop it.
How big is the problem? Why does it matter? Why does it happen? and How can we stop it?
How big is the problem?
The extent of the problem on an individual level can be seen on the Retraction Watch blog, but is best illustrated by the case of Dr Fujii, an anaesthetist from Japan who currently holds the record for the number of articles retracted (nearly 200), which is more than I have ever had published. But as he has not admitted any wrongdoing, we dont know whether he is fraudulent, or whether he is a doctor who makes a LOT of mistakes. I am not sure which is worse.
Going by information supplied by Pentcho Valev mainstream physics must be 100 per cent fraudulent, and physicists are only allowed to publish if they conform to that norm.