Ranking major and minor research misbehaviors: results from a survey among participants of four World Conferences on Research Integrity

This recently published survey identifies the most frequent problem in science: sloppy research.  The survey was performed among participants of the World Conference on Research Integrity and contained 60 questions whereas from the 1500+ participants 17% replied by answering the questions.  However, even though fabrication of data ranked high when asking for the impact on truth but the frequency for this dishonorable behavior seemed to be pretty low. In contrast to performing sloppy science in form of selective reporting, selective citing, and flaws in quality assurance and mentoring which ranked much higher when asking for frequency!

This is actually nicely mirrored in two publications dealing with the costs for the society.  The publication by Stern et al. 2014 numbered the costs for fabricated and falsified data to 400.000US$ for each paper.  This cumulates to costs of 58 million US$ for the period of 1992 to 2012 according to the authers.  BUT, the costs for unreproducible data in the US alone were numbered to 28 billion US$ every year by Freedman et al. in 2015. These examples clearly show that the hyped stories about falsified data by news media are only a minor problem.  The real issue seems to be the smouldering problem of sloppy science that eats up so many resources and needs to be targeted. LINK

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