Scientific misconduct

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Scientific misconduct is the violation of the standard codes of scholarly conduct and ethical behavior in professional scientific research. A Lancet review on Handling of Scientific Misconduct in Scandinavian countries provides the following sample definitions:[1] (reproduced in The COPE report 1999[2])

  • Danish Definition: "Intention(al) or gross negligence leading to fabrication of the scientific message or a false credit or emphasis given to a scientist"
  • Swedish Definition: "Intention(al) distortion of the research process by fabrication of data, text, hypothesis, or methods from another researcher's manuscript form or publication; or distortion of the research process in other ways."

The consequences of scientific misconduct can be severe at a personal level for both perpetrators and any individual who exposes it. In addition there are public health implications attached to the promotion of medical or other interventions based on dubious research findings.


Motivation to commit scientific misconduct

According to David Goodstein of Caltech, there are motivators for scientists to commit misconduct, which are briefly summarised here.[3]

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