In our culture, we idolize scientists. Often John Q. Public fails to question what scientists are doing or the money they ask for because there is the assumption that scientists are altruistic. Even more often, anyone who does question the ethics of the research or the public policy that provides money to ethically-suspect research is labeled “anti-science.”
We have no problem believing that CEOs or bankers would commit fraud, but put on a white coat and that becomes a difficult sell. Venerating scientists like they are rock stars, doesn’t help.
And yet fraud in the scientific community is a problem. The Scientist outlines the “Top Science Scandals of 2012.” A fascinating read filled with made-up data and fictional patients. One Japanese scientist fabricated data in 172 papers over his career. A particularly clever fraud perpetrated by scientists, was to refer journal editors back to themselves for reviews of their papers:
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