Are US Scientists More Likely To Fake Research?

from the need-more-data dept

Yeebok Shu'in points us to a report claiming that US scientists are "significantly more likely to publish fake research." Of course, from the writeup, it's not actually clear if that's true. The study involved going through PubMed and looking at every paper that had been withdrawn between 2000 and 2010. There are two reasons why such papers are withdrawn: due to an error or due to fraud. The study did find that the largest number of retracted papers had someone from the US as their first author... but nowhere does it say what the percentage of the overall papers in PubMed are published by US authors. So it's hard to say, just from what's been reported, if US researchers are really more likely to withdraw papers. Honestly, for a scientific publication, the article is a bit weak in leaving out the details. It's entirely possible that the rest of the data is in the actual report, but Science Daily's writeup doesn't provide enough info.

The one stat it provides that is interesting is that 53% of the research withdrawn for fraud came from repeat offenders, while only 18% of the papers withdrawn for errors came from repeat offenders. Given the overall numbers, this actually suggests that fraud really isn't all that prevalent. A total of 243 papers overall were found as fraudulent over a ten year period, which represents about two per month. Perhaps that seems like a lot but given the number of scientific papers published that actually seems relatively low. Perhaps too low to read too much into the details.

Filed Under: fake, fraud, research

Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread

  1. identicon
    bikey, 20 Nov 2010 @ 8:16am


    Who can blame them. Everyone gets away with any old lie, no matter how ridiculous - why not scientists? It's probably like the mortgage thing - your cohorts call you stupid if you don't jump on board.

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter

Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Techdirt Gear
Show Now: Takedown
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads


Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.