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Friday, May 29, 2009

Some scientists admit to 'false' results

No need to say more, from UPI

EDINBURGH, Scotland, May 29 (UPI) -- A meta-analysis of surveys by researchers in Scotland, questioning scientists about their misbehaviors, found 2 percent admitted they had "fabricated" results.

Daniele Fanelli of the University of Edinburgh and colleagues said the meta-analysis focused on behaviors that actually distort scientific knowledge -- excluding data on plagiarism and other kinds of malpractice -- and extracted the frequency of scientists who recalled having committed a particular behavior at least once, or who knew a colleague who did.

The analysis, published in the journal PLoS One, found, on average, across the surveys, around 2 percent of scientists admitted they had fabricated, falsified or altered data to "improve the outcome" at least once, and up to 34 percent admitted other questionable research practices -- including "failing to present data that contradict one's own previous research" and "dropping observations or data points from analyses based on a gut feeling that they were inaccurate."

In surveys that asked about the behavior of colleagues, 14 percent said they knew someone who had fabricated, falsified or altered data, and up to 72 percent said they knew someone who had committed other questionable research practices, Fanelli said.

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