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Posts Tagged "scientific misconduct"

Doing Good Science

Some thoughts about the suicide of Yoshiki Sasai.

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In the previous post I suggested that it’s a mistake to try to understand scientific activity (including misconduct and culpable mistakes) by focusing on individual scientists, individual choices, and individual responsibility without also considering the larger community of scientists and the social structures it creates and maintains. That post was where I landed after thinking [...]

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Doing Good Science

When focusing on individual responsibility obscures shared responsibility.

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Over many years of writing about ethics in the conduct of science, I’ve had occasion to consider many cases of scientific misconduct and misbehavior, instances of honest mistakes and culpable mistakes. Discussions of these cases in the media and among scientists often make them look aberrant, singular, unconnected — the Schön case, the Hauser case, [...]

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Doing Good Science

On the value of empathy, not othering.

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Could seeing the world through the eyes of the scientist who behaves unethically be a valuable tool for those trying to behave ethically? Last semester, I asked my “Ethics in Science” students to review an online ethics training module of the sort that many institutions use to address responsible conduct of research with their students [...]

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Doing Good Science

Do permanent records of scientific misconduct findings interfere with rehabilitation?

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We’ve been discussing how the scientific community deals with cheaters in its midst and the question of whether scientists view rehabilitation as a live option. Connected to the question of rehabilitation is the question of whether an official finding of scientific misconduct leaves a permanent mark that makes it practically impossible for someone to function [...]

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Doing Good Science

Faith in rehabilitation (but not in official channels): how unethical behavior in science goes unreported.

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Can a scientist who has behaved unethically be rehabilitated and reintegrated as a productive member of the scientific community? Or is your first ethical blunder grounds for permanent expulsion from the community? In practice, this isn’t just a question about the person who commits the ethical violation. It’s also a question about what other scientists [...]

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Doing Good Science

How plagiarism hurts knowledge-building: Obligations of scientists (part 4)

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In the last post, we discussed why fabrication and falsification are harmful to scientific knowledge-building. The short version is that if you’re trying to build a body of reliable knowledge about the world, making stuff up (rather than, say, making careful observations of that world and reporting those observations accurately) tends not to get you [...]

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Doing Good Science

Don’t be evil: Obligations of scientists (part 3)

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In the last installation of our ongoing discussion of the obligations of scientists, I said the next post in the series would take up scientists’ positive duties (i.e., duties to actually do particular kinds of things). I’ve decided to amend that plan to say just a bit more about scientists’ negative duties (i.e., duties to [...]

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Doing Good Science

Scary subject matter.

Death

This being Hallowe’en, I felt like I should serve you something scary. But what? Verily, we’ve talked about some scary things here: Dangers to life and limb in academic chemistry labs, and the suggestion that lab safety is too expensive. My unsavory habit of sending gastropods in my garden to a soapy end Implicit biases [...]

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Doing Good Science

Individual misconduct or institutional failing: “The Newsroom” and science.

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I’ve been watching The Newsroom*, and in its second season, the storyline is treading on territory where journalism bears some striking similarities to science. Indeed, the most recent episode (first aired Sunday, August 25, 2013) raises questions about trust and accountability — both at the individual and the community levels — for which I think [...]

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Doing Good Science

Strategies to address questionable statistical practices.

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If you have not yet read all you want to read about the wrongdoing of social psychologist Diederik Stapel, you may be interested in reading the 2012 Tilburg Report (PDF) on the matter. The full title of the English translation is “Flawed science: the fraudulent research practices of social psychologist Diederik Stapel” (in Dutch, “Falende [...]

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Observations

Journal Retracts Paper that Linked Chronic Fatigue Syndrome to Retrovirus

A recent research paper that linked a retrovirus to chronic fatigue syndrome was fully retracted Thursday, following more than a year of growing doubts and incremental backpeddling by researchers and journals alike. Subsequent studies by others and even retests by the original research team (led by Vincent Lombardi, of the Whittemore Peterson Institute in Reno) [...]

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Observations

Federal Agency Encourages Its Scientists to Speak Out

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SAN FRANCISCO—The public at times questions scientific results produced by government agencies, thinking that the findings may be meant to support particular political policies or positions or to deflect criticism of those policies. Jane Lubchenco, the administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) released a formal scientific integrity policy yesterday that is intended [...]

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