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Fabrication, Falsification, and the Sanctity of Data

Fabrication, Falsification, and the Sanctity of Data

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Fabrication, Falsification, and the Sanctity of Data

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  1. Fabrication, Falsification, and the Sanctity of Data Prof. William Ullman College of Marine and Earth Studies University of Delaware, Lewes RAISE Fabrication and Falsification

  2. Federal Policy on Research Misconduct* Research misconduct is defined as fabrication, falsification, or plagiarism in proposing, performing, orreviewing research, or in reporting research results. * US Office of Science and Technology Policy. <www.ostp.gov/html/001207_3.html> RAISE Fabrication and Falsification

  3. Fabrication • Fabrication is the description of experiments not actually performed, the invention of data not actually collected, and/or the reporting of these experiments and results. RAISE Fabrication and Falsification

  4. Falsification (Cooking and Trimming) • Falsificationis manipulating research materials, equipment, or processes, or changing or omitting data or results such that the research is not accurately represented in the research record. • Cooking is retaining and reporting only the data that fits the theory and discarding others. • Trimming is the smoothing of irregularities to make the data look more accurate and precise than they really are. RAISE Fabrication and Falsification

  5. Nullius in Verba! Colleagues/readers are entitled to: • See all of the necessary data; • Know how the data was collected; • Know the limits of the methods; and • Make their own judgments based on your data! RAISE Fabrication and Falsification Honor and Integrity in Science

  6. Deborah’s and Kathleen’s Data:A Case Study* • Deborah (graduate student) and Kathleen (post doc) make expensive measurements at a national laboratory to verify a newly proposed theory. When they complete the experiment and return to their own lab, they review their data and compare it with the new theory. *From: On Being a Scientist: Responsible Conduct in Research, 2nd Edition. National Academy Press, 1995 RAISE Fabrication and Falsification

  7. Prediction from Theory RAISE Fabrication and Falsification

  8. Deborah’s and Kathleen’s Data:A Case Study* • During the experiments at the national laboratory, they observed unpredictable, uncontrollable, and unexplained fluctuations in the responses for two data points that fell the furthest from the theoretical prediction. They also found out that another research group, pursuing similar experiments, had independently verified the proposed theory. RAISE Fabrication and Falsification

  9. Deborah’s and Kathleen’s Data:A Case Study* • Kathleen suggests that, due to the observed fluctuations, these points be omitted from the statistical analysis, but, of course, be reported in the paper to be published from this experiment. In the text they will say that these points reflect anomalies associated with power fluctuations and are outside of the uncertainty associated with all of the points. RAISE Fabrication and Falsification

  10. Deborah’s and Kathleen’s Data:A Case Study* • How should the data from the two points be handled? • Should the data be included in the statistical tests? • Who can they go to for advice? • Is this paper ready to be written? RAISE Fabrication and Falsification

  11. Deborah’s and Kathleen’s Data:A Case Study* • Are there problems with Deborah’s and Kathleen’s approach to their data? • How would you examine this data? • What is a datum? • Is there something called “self-deception?” RAISE Fabrication and Falsification

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  17. Report all as measured without uncertainty Cooking Trimming Report all as measured with uncertainty Eliminate on a posteriori analysis Eliminate on deviation from expectations Eliminate experimental anomalies Fabricate experiment & data RAISE Fabrication and Falsification