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Christian Science Monitor: Fraud in scientific research: It happens, and cases are on the rise

Posted Oct 04 2012 4:33pm

The Christian Science Monitor has an article out today: Fraud in scientific research: It happens, and cases are on the rise

Of 2,000 retractions of published scientific papers since 1977, 866 were because of fraud, a new study finds. Another 201 were plagiarized. But it’s hard to know if more scientists are cheating, or if detection is simply better.

Is it a real increase, or just better awareness…

Who is their prime example of science fraud? I’m sure you’ve guessed it: Andrew Wakefield. Ironically, on the day when Mr. Wakefield is giving a faux press conference in a public park, the Monitor uses a photo from Mr. Wakefield’s public park appearance during a past AutismOne convention:

Why use Mr. Wakefield as the example? Many reasons come to mind, but the fact that he is probably the most publicly recognizable that the Monitor could have chosen. Also, the Monitor states:

One of the most high-profile examples involved the issue of childhood immunizations.

That paper, which the PNAS [Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences] study identifies as the most widely cited retracted work, cited research purported to uncover a link between autism and vaccines given to children. The work was published in 1998 in the British medical journal Lancet. Subsequent studies reportedly indicated that the data were fraudulent. Meanwhile, Britain’s General Medical Council stripped the study’s author, Andrew Wakefield, of his status as a “registered medical practitioner” for misconduct after investigating his research effort.

So Mr. Wakefield has the dubious distinction of having written the most cited retracted work. He’s the best at something.

By Matt Carey

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