Thursday, January 30, 2020

Another Stapel situation?

It's hard to say right now. What is clear is that another PI has seen a couple of his papers retracted due to data irregularities. His former students, post-docs, and coauthors are doing the right thing. At the end of the day, that's what matters. One thing to keep in mind: when we start looking at cases of potential fraud in scientific research, the people most affected are early career researchers (ECRs): grad students and post-docs in particular. With fewer lines on a CV, any retraction will have disproportionate repercussions any time they are on the job market, applying for tenure, etc. All of us, though are negatively affected, to the extent that any article based upon fraudulent (or fabricated) data, to the extent that policy,health, and other personal or professional decisions are based upon that research. The old Russian saying "trust but verify" is seeming more apt all the time. Maybe I'd leave the "trust" part out and just say "verify."

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