This week saw Japanese anesthesiologist Yoshitaka Fujii break the record for scientific retractions with 172 fraudulent papers. Meanwhile, social psychology--a field still recovering from a massive fraud case last year--was hit by the scandal involving marketing researcher Dirk Smeesters. His alleged misconduct came to light through a new statistical test that has scientists fascinated.
What’s behind the rise in fraud cases and retractions? Are scientists becoming less ethical? And if so, what can be done about it?
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Brian Nosek is a psychologist at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville and the coordinator of the Open Science Collaboration (OSC), a large effort to replicate published psychology studies.
Ivan Oransky is co-founder of Retraction Watch and the executive editor of Reuters Health. He teaches medical journalism at New York University’s Science, Health, and Environmental Reporting Program, and is the treasurer of the Association of Health Care Journalists.