Week 2: Ethical Scientific Research
19 September 2016, 22 September 2016
Biology, Society, and Biomedical Issues
IF – impact factor – yearly average # of citations to that article/journal; higher # = more influential First author – responsible for intellectual content of paper; first name in list of authors Principal Investigator (PI) – research group leader, lab head, etc.; last name in list of authors
Most scientific research is inductive - done in context of what’s already known (not deductive) ∙ Scientists are obligated to know the field first before researching
∙ You can’t accidentally replicate experiment bc you didn’t know that it exists already
Retractions – official removal of a previously published paper: the original article should not have been published, it’s data and conclusions should not be used as part of the foundation for future research ∙ Results not contributing to truth
∙ Negatively affecting society
∙ Almost 70% of all retractions are due to misconduct
Reason for scientific misconduct: If you want to learn more check out What is the study of psychopharmacology?
Publications = currency of science
∙ Pressure for publications:
o Funding grant proposals
o Keeping jobs/positions – need to show that you excel at science
3 forms of misconduct
1) Fraud – 50% retractions attributable to fraud We also discuss several other topics like What is the barrier to the rotation of ethane?
a. Fabrication of data
b. Falsification of data
c. Violation of ethical standards
2) Plagiarism – 10%
a. Taking others ideas, being aware of their work, using same methodology/approach, beat them to publication
b. Using someone else’s style to write (bc you suck at scientific/technical writing) 3) Duplicate replication – <10%
a. Stealing data/info/graphs from your own work
b. Recycling data from past papers + republishing it
Predictors of committing fraud:
1. History of fraud – people who have committed fraud in the past are likely to repeat in the future a. ~53% of fraudulent papers are written by a first author who are repeat offenders i. only 18% of erroneous papers are written by repeat offendersIf you want to learn more check out What are the four fields of anthropology?
2. Geographical location – fraud is more common in USA, Germany, Japan, China, etc. a. Significantly more fraud than error among retracted papers from USA than rest of world b. USA+Germany+Japan+China account for ¾ of retractions due to fraud We also discuss several other topics like How do flowers get pollinated?
We also discuss several other topics like What are the other findings in thomson’s experiment where he discovered electrons?
If you want to learn more check out What is the order of the central dogma?
Characteristics of fraudulent papers:
∙ fraudulent papers have more authors
o diffusion of responsibility
o collaborators tend to also have retracted papers
∙ fraudulent papers take longer to retract that erroneous papers
∙ fraudulent papers are published in journals with higher IF
o one publication in a high IF journal is worth equal to or even more than many publications in lower IF journals
Prof. Uzwiak’s solution to unethical scientific research
∙ Currently: no one but the researcher himself gets to see the “real data”
o Published data is all condensed forms of the original through statistics
∙ Suggestion #1: whoever funded the grant owns the data set
o if requested, researchers must provide the original data to the “owners”
∙ Suggestion #2: make data publicly available & accessible, which should be easer today b/c we have more powerful technology (i.e. the internet)