US scientists significantly more likely to publish fake research

Nov 16, 2010

US scientists are significantly more likely to publish fake research than scientists from elsewhere, finds a trawl of officially withdrawn (retracted) studies, published online in the Journal of Medical Ethics.

Fraudsters are also more likely to be "repeat offenders," the study shows.

The study searched the PubMed database for every scientific research that had been withdrawn—and therefore officially expunged from the public record—between 2000 and 2010.

A total of 788 papers had been retracted during this period. Around three quarters of these papers had been withdrawn because of a serious error (545); the rest of the retractions were attributed to fraud (data fabrication or falsification).

The highest number of retracted papers were written by US first authors (260), accounting for a third of the total. One in three of these was attributed to fraud.

The UK, India, Japan, and China each had more than 40 papers withdrawn during the decade. Asian nations, including South Korea, accounted for 30% of retractions. Of these, one in four was attributed to fraud.

The fakes were more likely to appear in leading publications with a high "impact factor." This is a measure of how often research is cited in other peer reviewed journals.

More than half (53%) of the faked research papers had been written by a first author who was a "repeat offender." This was the case in only one in five (18%) of the erroneous papers.

The average number of authors on all retracted papers was three, but some had 10 or more. Faked research papers were significantly more likely to have multiple authors.

Each first author who was a repeat fraudster had an average of six co-authors, each of whom had had another three retractions.

"The duplicity of some authors is cause for concern," comments the author. Retraction is the strongest sanction that can be applied to published research, but currently, "[it] is a very blunt instrument used for offences both gravely serious and trivial."

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Husky
5 / 5 (3) Nov 16, 2010
they were merely researching new bussinessmodels: "How to secure funding in the economic downturn
kevinrtrs
1.4 / 5 (21) Nov 16, 2010
Not so much different from doing research to show that wine is contains a lot of good anti-oxidants or that eating crisp potato chips is a good supply of potasium.

The lies will increase because in a secular world there really is no internal driving force to keep one honest.
asmith1
4.3 / 5 (11) Nov 16, 2010
Kevin, red wine does contain antioxidants like resveratrol...and moderate alcohol consumption does seem to carry with it some health benefits. Of course there are other sources of these beneficial compounds, but why not indulge from time to time? What this article does not say is that usually when a paper is retracted, it is due to ONE of the authors being dishonest...often these studies are a collaborative effort across labs, sometimes other universities...it is not always feasible to double check each author's contributions to a paper. As with most everything else in life, there is a certain level of trust involved.
mysticshakra
1.7 / 5 (17) Nov 16, 2010
Wonder what the skeptics (aka science apologists) will have to say in defense of the priesthood.... the illusion of objective and honest scientists is always peddled by these guys. The reality is that a large number of fraudulent studies are never retracted and become dogma, sometimes for generations. Reminds me of the old saying, "science advances one death at a time."
marjon
2.8 / 5 (10) Nov 16, 2010
As with most everything else in life, there is a certain level of trust involved.

Trust is earned.
As Reagan said, trust but verify.
Vreejack
4.6 / 5 (15) Nov 16, 2010
A curious comment, "Mysticshakra." Do the priests of your religion remain skeptical of each other and constantly try to expose the errors in their field? I think not. You must be very jealous.
Dan_K
4.9 / 5 (15) Nov 16, 2010
Leave it up to the brits...

Too bad it didn't mention that US scientists just published more research in general, and what exactly was the percentage of faked research, not just a count of faked papers.
jscroft
2.8 / 5 (8) Nov 16, 2010
Too bad the study didn't cover a broader database so fraudulent submissions could be broken down by topic. I wonder which field would win?

Climate change would be my pick. I'd say afro/women's/lgbt/pick-a-class-of-victim studies, except that when the field ITSELF is fraudulent, it seems unfair to single out an individual researcher.
ThanderMAX
2 / 5 (2) Nov 16, 2010
Generally the acceptance ratio of a paper published between US scientist vs Asian scientist is high.

Sometimes legit paper is discarded for coming from Asian countries, where as paper published in US is generally more accepted.
This is a proven fact, even ACM/IEEE editors have acknowledged this problem.

In this global economy and in the era of globalization this type of prejudiced behavior is harmful for whole scientific community.

Same is true for African descendant people also.

[Most of the paper are restricted]
http://www.psycho...nes.html
Skeptic_Heretic
3.8 / 5 (12) Nov 16, 2010
The lies will increase because in a secular world there really is no internal driving force to keep one honest.
Would that be why the most Christian country in the world tops the list of fraudsters?

The highest number of retracted papers were written by US first authors (260), accounting for a third of the total. One in three of these was attributed to fraud.
US First as in the organization, or is this a different typo?
Skeptic_Heretic
4.9 / 5 (9) Nov 16, 2010
The lies will increase because in a secular world there really is no internal driving force to keep one honest.

Would that be why the most Christian country in the world tops the list of fraudsters?

So I did a little digging for last year, 2009, and it appears that the vast majority of retracted research is medical research.
Fribble_man
5 / 5 (8) Nov 16, 2010
What is the rate of fraud over the number of submissions? Can the rate for US fraud be prorated for the number of articles from the US?
Does not seem like enough data is present to see the whole picture.

Also interesting to note that the most fraud was in ‘first time’ submitters. Either they were black balled or got the message.

And how accurate is this study. ;)
Sean_W
3 / 5 (6) Nov 16, 2010
"US scientists significantly more likely to publish fake research"

Even if the methodology of this paper was flawless (it is not) this headline would not even be remotely substantiated by the research. In the rush to gain the attention and admiration of self-loathing Yanks and the 90% of the rest of us who burn with jealousy, insecurity and the vilest hatred for America and Americans, why bother with facts.

panorama
4.5 / 5 (12) Nov 16, 2010
Wonder what the skeptics (aka science apologists) will have to say in defense of the priesthood.... the illusion of objective and honest scientists is always peddled by these guys. The reality is that a large number of fraudulent studies are never retracted and become dogma, sometimes for generations. Reminds me of the old saying, "science advances one death at a time."


How do people who are seemingly anti-science even use a computer? On top of that how do they get on the internet? It ceases to amaze me how hypocritical some people can be...
marjon
3.2 / 5 (10) Nov 16, 2010
Wonder what the skeptics (aka science apologists) will have to say in defense of the priesthood.... the illusion of objective and honest scientists is always peddled by these guys. The reality is that a large number of fraudulent studies are never retracted and become dogma, sometimes for generations. Reminds me of the old saying, "science advances one death at a time."


How do people who are seemingly anti-science even use a computer? On top of that how do they get on the internet? It ceases to amaze me how hypocritical some people can be...

How is it anti-science to demand integrity from those who claim to practice science?
Engineers are the ones who must implement science. They can be held legally liable for fraud or mistakes. Why shouldn't scientists?
Skeptic_Heretic
3.4 / 5 (9) Nov 16, 2010
Engineers are the ones who must implement science. They can be held legally liable for fraud or mistakes. Why shouldn't scientists?
They are. Their career is over if they pull this sort of garbage. As I said before, the vast majority of retracted research in the US is medical. Which means quack doctors like your buddy Andrew "No longer a doctor" Wakefield.
Ravenrant
2.3 / 5 (3) Nov 16, 2010
Fraudsters are also more likely to be "repeat offenders," the study shows

Understatement at its best. Fraudsters and scammers are about 99.9% likely to to be repeat offenders. They, like sex offenders, should be locked up for life because they are guaranteed to do it again.

We have a complete misconception in the US as to what constitutes cruel and unusual punishment. Is it more cruel and unusual to the sex offender to imprison them for life after any offense or is it more cruel and unusual to a new victim to let them out? Not to mention the effect this kind of punishment would have on those that are contemplating crimes. Scientific scammers should have similar career punishments, I guarantee scientific fraud would be cut to nearly zero if someone knew his PHD would be wasted time and money.
acmetech
4.6 / 5 (8) Nov 16, 2010
@MysticShakra said "The reality is that a large number of fraudulent studies are never retracted and become dogma, sometimes for generations."

I challenge you to cite just one of those studies here. Go ahead, give it your best shot!

The problem with your proclamation is that "dogma" is not science. Whatever is published is automatically questioned by real scientists, because (unlike in supernatural or metaphysical "fields"), skepticism is what makes science possible. Science that you take advantage of every fricken day of your life, in fact, and can even thank for your longer life and quality of life.

Science doesn't always produce perfect results, but that is the goal, and time always brings more and more perfect results. This is very unlike real DOGMA, that can NEVER change or adapt to newfound evidence and experiments.
marjon
2.1 / 5 (10) Nov 16, 2010
"Lately, academia seems to place a higher value on the quality of the journals that accept researchers' data, rather than the quality of the data itself. In many countries, scientists are judged by how many papers they have published in top-tier journals; the more publications they rack up, the more funding they receive."
http://www.the-sc...facebook

skepticism is what makes science possible.
Skepticism is not allowed in climate 'science' or evolution.
marjon
2.1 / 5 (8) Nov 16, 2010
The problem with your proclamation is that "dogma" is not science.

But scientists themselves admit to dogmatism.

"This conservative resistance to the attempted refutation of key theories means that revolutions are not sought for except under extreme circumstances. "
http://plato.stan...as-kuhn/

"A scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it.
Max Planck "
DamienS
3.8 / 5 (6) Nov 16, 2010
I don't understand why anyone would bother faking results in a peer reviewed journal. By its very nature, science is self correcting which means faked results will surely be discovered, particularly if the field is 'hot' (as happened with Jan Hendrik Schön).

I guess it might be easier to fudge the odd result in a 'softer' field, like medical research, which is probably why it's more prevalent there according to SH's findings.
Ethelred
3.7 / 5 (7) Nov 16, 2010
Skepticism is not allowed in climate 'science' or evolution.


There is skepticism in both. HOWEVER both are legitimate sciences. Evolution is real the skepticism thus exists in the details. Such as the article on Afarencis cutting tools.

There is NO evidence against evolution Marjon. Then again you NEVER accept evidence you don't like. You should practice skepticism sometime. Then you wouldn't make so many silly posts. Like quoting Reagan on honesty for instance. Going to quote Nixon next?

Ethelred
KomMaelstrom
not rated yet Nov 17, 2010
"Follow the money"

I was going to say "blame the psychologists" because they have the most "interesting" articles on physorg. But you guys probably don't count them anyway.
marjon
2.3 / 5 (6) Nov 17, 2010
By its very nature, science is self correcting which means faked results will surely be discovered,

How, if the results and methodologies are not published?
Nature refused to release Mann's hockey stick data and code to those who requested it, against Nature's published policies.
Skeptic_Heretic
3 / 5 (4) Nov 17, 2010
By its very nature, science is self correcting which means faked results will surely be discovered,

How, if the results and methodologies are not published?
If they aren't published, the paper isn't considered reviewed or publishable.
Nature refused to release Mann's hockey stick data and code to those who requested it, against Nature's published policies.
No, that's wholly inaccurate. First, Nature had nothing to do with the stick. Second, the stick was a model, meaning other modelers are to build their own model to compare results and see if Mann's model was bad, which they did and they found an error. The error was small and corrected.

Keep beating that denial drum.
marjon
2.6 / 5 (5) Nov 17, 2010
"No one should be surprised at the reaction that results that if you refuse to release your data for 9 years, and then when data is released, it shows a picture quite opposite to that which had been claimed publicly (see image above). Over time, it could certainly be the case that Briffa's selection of data, and the choices made by those who processed the data before Briffa used it, will be upheld as scientifically sound and appropriate. But right now, appearances at the very least sure look bad, especially to those who are predisposed to not trusting climate scientists for the track record of bad behavior demonstrated by a small subset of that community.

The lesson here is that if you have nothing to hide, then don't hide anything. "
http://rogerpielk...ory.html
KwasniczJ
3 / 5 (2) Nov 17, 2010
That study seems flawed. Does China utilize pubmed as much as western countries? I'm missing the total numbers here and the ratio of total number of articles published. In addition, the highest number of frauds revealed could mean the most strict public control and/or rules for application of frauds in USA, instead.

"There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics."
Skeptic_Heretic
3.7 / 5 (6) Nov 17, 2010
The lesson here is that if you have nothing to hide, then don't hide anything.
The data was publically available. Nothing was hidden otherwise your source wouldn't have been able to do his reconstructions.

Lazy Marjon, simply lazy.
marjon
3.4 / 5 (5) Nov 17, 2010
"Government policy soon became BBC policy too. In Feb 2007, Newsnight presenter Jeremy Paxman had this to say about BBC “impartiality” on Climate Change:

I have neither the learning nor the experience to know whether the doomsayers are right about the human causes of climate change. But I am willing to acknowledge that people who know a lot more than I do may be right when they claim that it is the consequence of our own behaviour.

I assume that this is why the BBC’s coverage of the issue abandoned the pretence of impartiality long ago."
http://blogs.tele...l-story/
Skeptic_Heretic
3.3 / 5 (7) Nov 17, 2010
I assume that this is why the BBC's coverage of the issue abandoned the pretence of impartiality long ago.
The BBC never left impartiality, they just stopped listening to unsourcable claims like yours.

Again, "I read some shit on the internet" is not research. How many peer reviewed papers, critical of AGCC do Peilke, McIntyre, McKitrick, and the rest of the denialist-blogosphere have published?

Answer: ZERO.

They cannot match the rigor and scrutiny of their opponents. Just like the douchebags at Templeton, they have no science, no research, no peer review, and nothing of note in the discussion.

Denialist has become an apt term for their rhetoric.
COCO
1 / 5 (1) Nov 18, 2010
NIST and their sophmoric sophistry on 911 remains a standard for all
COCO
1.7 / 5 (3) Nov 18, 2010
Here in the UK we use the NIST 911 report as a standard in sophmoric sophistry - on the verge of lying but not really good enough to qualify - these chaps choose politics over professionalism,
Ethelred
1 / 5 (1) Nov 18, 2010
Here in the UK we use the NIST 911 report as a standard in sophmoric sophistry


I see you speak for the ENTIRE UK. Interesting. So what official position do you hold?

We know what position you hold in regards to clear thinking. None at all.

How were the building mined while work went on?
How come NO ONE noticed this since it requires a LOT of noise to properly plant the charges?
How did they know where the planes would hit to make it look EXACTLY like the building started collapsing where the fuel damaged the structure?
Why didn't buildings fall the way they do in REAL demolition projects?
Why do the conspiracy fans claim the building underwent freefall when it didn't?
Why are people surprise that some of the windows blew out when the building collapse compressed the air in the building?

Rational minds want to know what sophistry irrational minds engage in to create fantasies like Loose Change.

Ethelred
trusetheeker
not rated yet Nov 19, 2010
(COCO - Nov 18, 2010) Here in the UK we use the NIST 911 report as a standard in sophmoric sophistry


(Ethelred)
I see you speak for the ENTIRE UK. Interesting. So what official position do you hold?

We know what position you hold in regards to clear thinking. None at all.


IMO, COCO has their head screw on and you, Ethelred, have no interest in "science" if it doesn't support your agenda. Your HOW questions (and somne of your WHY questions) are valid for the public inquiry when it happens but are not proof that a controlled demolition didn't take place.

For real science, you should list all of the questions relevant to the event, not just the ones' that support your view.

It's nice to make your acquaintance.

TruseTheeker
trusetheeker
not rated yet Nov 19, 2010
(Skeptic_Heretic - Nov 16, 2010) They are. Their career is over if they pull this sort of garbage. As I said before, the vast majority of retracted research in the US is medical. Which means quack doctors like your buddy Andrew "No longer a doctor" Wakefield.


Skeptic_Heretic, bad choice for example. The witch hunt against Wakefield successfully dispatched him despite the 28 studies that supported Wakefield's findings.

Mercola.com provides this list at http://articles.m...iew.aspx

but here's a few for direct access:
"http://mercola.fi....Horvath 1.pdf"
"http://mercola.fi...f"
"http://mercola.fi...phocytes in autism.pdf"
"http://mercola.fi...f"

Science always takes a back seat to profits when it comes to medicine especially vaccinations.

(Skeptic: one who questions generally accepted conclusions!)
Ethelred
3 / 5 (2) Nov 19, 2010
IMO, COCO has their head screw on and you, Ethelred, have no interest in "science" if it doesn't support your agenda.
Your opinion and a dollar will get you a cup of coffee. If they don't charge you extra for blathering like 'screw on'.
]Your HOW questions (and somne of your WHY questions) are valid for the public inquiry when it happens but are not proof that a controlled demolition didn't take place.
They are reasonable questions. If you think others are needed go ahead post them. And considering that is is your FIRST post your opinion of me as a person is without a basis of any kind.

My agenda is truth.
For real science, you should list all of the questions relevant to the event, not just the ones' that support your view.
For one there is a limit to the length of the post. For another it takes great arrogance to think that YOU know all the questions. I know that I don't.
It's nice to make your acquaintance.
Try being polite the next time.

Ethelred
chaamjamal
5 / 5 (1) Nov 20, 2010
out of 788 withdrawn papers 288, about 1/3, are reported to have been written by a "US first author". two questions: (1) is the fraction of the total number of papers in the sample that were written by a "US first author" more than 1/3? (2) what does "US first author" mean? did you check their citizenship or residency status? many foreigners publish from american universities and hospitals.
lexington
not rated yet Nov 20, 2010
Seriously people can't figure out what "US first author" means? I'm not sure if its stupidity or pedantry but obviously it refers to papers where the first name listed is a person from the US.
jonnyboy
2 / 5 (4) Nov 20, 2010
all you have to do is look at 90% of the AGW papers published here to know that.
VOR
4 / 5 (1) Nov 21, 2010
"The lies will increase because in a secular world there really is no internal driving force to keep one honest. " That internal driving force is intelligence with regards to sociology and empathy for the community. Less bright people need some external force to help them do right since they dont understand the importance of it. A general 'capitalism worship' culture doesnt help. But the right educational curriculum can highten that awareness in those that are close.
marjon
not rated yet Nov 21, 2010
Less bright people need some external force to help them do right since they dont understand the importance of it

The alphas need to keep the gammas in line?
What a bunch of elitist 'liberal' crap!
VOR
not rated yet Nov 21, 2010
yeah maybe you are right, those that are smarter should not try to help those that arent. If we allow those that know better to help, we will be violating the god-given right people have to mess things up. And that 'external force' I was refering to was from the original poster. It can be an archaic religious structure, or it can be an actual understanding of the wisdom behind that structure (the aspects that are actually wise, not the other crap). The later removes the need for the former.
marjon
not rated yet Nov 21, 2010
those that are smarter should not try to help those that arent

Depends upon how you define 'smarter' and 'help'.
mysticshakra
1 / 5 (1) Nov 22, 2010
No evidence against evolution? Are you serious?

How about imprinted genes for starters.....
Ethelred
3 / 5 (2) Nov 22, 2010
No evidence against evolution? Are you serious?


Yes.

How about imprinted genes for starters...


How about you tell us what you mean by that?

That is how is it supposed to violate evolution?

http://en.wikiped...printing

Nothing there that violated evolution. Nothing even that shows Larmarkian evolution, which would still be evolution and in this case would only be a minor part of evolution IF the imprinting were to effect the genome in the germ cells. Which there is no sign of yet. If there ever is a case where the imprinting effects the genome of the germ cells THAN we would have the first evidence for Lamarkian evolution as a new aspect of EVOLUTION.

At the moment though Lamark is right out. If and when it is found then Natural Selection would still be the primary source of retained changes in life.

Now are YOU serious? Serious enough to discuss this.

Ethelred
GSwift7
3 / 5 (2) Nov 26, 2010
It was once proposed by some guy from Galilei that the Earth was not the center of the Universe, but he later retracted his wild and irresponsible claims. He then became a repeat offender when he later published that same bogus research AGAIN! Oh the shame and scandal!! Here's the link if you don't believe me: http://en.wikiped..._Galilei

I think it's safe to say that human nature is not dependent upon race, nationality, religion, or field of study. There are many explanations for a high number of retractions in a field or from a certain nation besides ethics. For example, high retractions in medicine could be due to the gold rush of medical research being done. People rush to beat other labs working on the same thing for example. It could also be that more critical review and public exposure in certain fields would lead to increased retractions.

Altogether, I'd say that the number of retractions probably is a sign of the rate of progress in a field or nation.