Scientists behaving badlyNature - 9 June issue ~~~~~B. Martinson, M. Anderson & R. de Vries ~~~~~
Definition • Serious: fabrication, falsification, or plagiarism-> hurts one's career(Schön at Bell labs in 2002) • Carelessness: misconduct-> challenges our privilege of self-regulation
The Experiment • Anonymous e-mail survey randomly send to scientists from the National Institutes of Health • Questions regarding behaviour in the last 3 years • ~3000 replies • Two groups of respondents: post-doc and faculty • Two classes of questions: serious misbehaviour and carelessness
The Questions • Failing to present data that contradict one's own previous research • Overlooking other's use of flawed data or questionable interpretation of data • Inappropriately assigning authorship credit • Dropping observations or data points from analyses based on a gut feeling that they were inaccurate • Inadequate record keeping related to research projects
The Results • Less than 1.5% admitted to falsification or plagiarism • 15.5% changed the design, methodology or results of a study because of funding source • 27.5% reported inadequate record keeping • Overall, 33% engaged in at least one of the 10 most serious offences • Proportion higher in older group
Why? • There is no historical study of misconducts in science • Pressure to obtain results for fundings/jobs • Danger of assessing quality of a scientist based on:- number of publications- publication rate (astro-ph)
What can we astronomers do? • Acknowledge appropriately contributions (i.e. students, seniors...) • As an author: make sure your work is reproducible. Up to date book keeping. • As a referee/editor: prevent plagiarism and duplication • Foster anonymity: for publications (referee and authors), for observational proposals?