ABSTRACT

In recent years, the integrity of a number of scientists and of science itself has been challenged. Evidence that scientific research protocols and results have been falsified makes front page news. Even in the early nineteenth century, Charles Babbage, deploring the “decline” of science in England, discussed various ways in which observational data could be manipulated by untrustworthy investigators. 1 But for a number of reasons, the current spate of incidents of misconduct in research may be of special significance. Although the evidence is often more sensational than systematic, the incidence of scientific fraud and deception appears to be increasing. Recent cultural and political upheavals and a loss of faith in experts of all kinds have weakened public faith in once-trusted institutions. At a time when scientific research depends on public funding to an unprecedented degree, deceptive practices in scientific research threaten to erode both the confidence of the public and trust among scientists themselves.