By R. Grant Steen
J Med Ethics 2011; 37:249-253 doi:10.1136/jme.2010.040923
Scientific papers are retracted for many reasons including fraud (data fabrication or falsification) or error (plagiarism, scientific mistake, ethical problems). Growing attention to fraud in the lay press suggests that the incidence of fraud is increasing.
Accusations that research is tainted by bias have become commonplace in the news media. The ClimateGate scandal arose when climate change critics hacked into a research database at the University of East Anglia, evaluated the data without authorisation and went public with accusations that data had been selectively published and perhaps even falsified.1 More recently, a scientist at Harvard has been accused of biasing or falsifying data that show tamarin monkeys can learn algebraic rules.
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