From a journalist and former lab researcher, a penetrating investigation of the explosion in cases of scientific fraud and the factors behind it.
In the 1970s, a scientific scandal about painted mice hit the headlines. A cancer researcher was found to have deliberately falsified his experiments by coloring transplanted mouse skin with ink. This widely publicized case of scientific misconduct marked the beginning of an epidemic of fraud that plagues the scientific community today.
From manipulated results and made-up data to retouched illustrations and plagiarism, cases of scientific fraud have skyrocketed in the past two decades, especially in the biomedical sciences. Fraud in the Lab examines cases of scientific misconduct around the world and asks why this behavior is so pervasive. Nicolas Chevassus-au-Louis points to large-scale trends that have led to an environment of heightened competition, extreme self-interest, and emphasis on short-term payoffs. Because of the move toward highly specialized research, fewer experts are qualified to verify experimental findings. And the pace of journal publishing has exacerbated the scientific rewards system—publish or perish holds sway more than ever. Even when instances of misconduct are discovered, researchers often face few consequences, and falsified data may continue to circulate after an article has been retracted.
Sharp and damning, this exposé details the circumstances that have allowed scientific standards to decline. Fraud in the Lab reveals the intense social pressures that lead to fraud, documents the lasting impact it has had on the scientific community, and highlights recent initiatives and proposals to reduce the extent of misconduct in the future.
Part exposé and part manifesto…No time should be lost confronting the kinds of misconduct outlined in Fraud in the Lab and reaffirming the ideals of scientific inquiry.
This bracing critical analysis…skewers the ‘publish or perish’ lab culture driving scientific fraud…Shows the serious, real-life impacts of ‘data beautification,’ manipulated images, and plagiarism.
Sees journalist Nicolas Chevassus-au-Louis, a former lab researcher, investigate cases of deception in science, from made-up data and manipulated results to retouching and plagiarism.
Fraud in the Lab has an analytic structure that builds a patient case.
Chevassus-au-Louis charts some of the more egregious examples of recent scientific deceit: plagiarism, manipulated results, outright falsification. The problem, he argues, is that the intense pressure on scientists today—to ‘publish or perish’—is corrupting the culture of science and positively incentivizing misconduct and dishonesty.
A convincing, concise, and critical analysis of the growing cases of deviant science, from botched experiments to data embellishment and outright fabrication.
Fraud in the Lab makes a convincing case that today’s scientific culture, emphasizing speed and quantity of publication, breeds fraud and secrecy, destroys lives, and cheats society. Chevassus-au-Louis advocates a responsibility to turn to slow science, emphasizing the quality of both thinking and evidence, as the path to better science for a better world.
Tackles the issue of scientific fraud head-on, with some tough love for the scientific community. The book should be read by everyone interested in the sciences.
A disturbing account on fraud or, more broadly, on misconduct within the scientific community.
Offers anyone interested in scientific integrity and research misconduct an excellent point of entry into the field, enabling them to identify the relevant themes, the most high-profile cases, and the way in which scientists handle research misconduct (or not). These are all essential elements for approaching scientific integrity and research misconduct as a field of research.
- 224 pages
- 5-1/2 x 8-1/4 inches
- Harvard University Press
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