From the website of
U.S. Scientific Research Enterprise Should Take Action to Protect Integrity in Research; New Advisory Board on Research Integrity Should Be Established
WASHINGTON – All stakeholders in the scientific research enterprise — researchers, institutions, publishers, funders, scientific societies, and federal agencies – should improve their practices and policies to respond to threats to the integrity of research, says a new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. Actions are needed to ensure the availability of data necessary for reproducing research, clarify authorship standards, protect whistleblowers, and make sure that negative as well as positive research findings are reported, among other steps.
The report stresses the important role played by institutions and environments – not only individual researchers — in supporting scientific integrity. And it recommends the establishment of an independent, nonprofit Research Integrity Advisory Board to support ongoing efforts to strengthen research integrity. The board should work with all stakeholders in the research enterprise to share expertise and approaches for minimizing and addressing research misconduct and detrimental practices.
“The research enterprise is not broken, but it faces significant challenges in creating the conditions needed to foster and sustain the highest standards of integrity,” said Robert Nerem, chair of the committee that wrote the report, and Institute Professor and Parker H. Petit Professor Emeritus, Institute for Bioengineering and Bioscience, Georgia Institute of Technology. “ To meet these challenges, all parties in the research enterprise need to take deliberate steps to strengthen the self-correcting mechanisms that are part of research and to better align the realities of research with its values and ideals.”
A growing body of evidence indicates that substantial percentages of published results in some fields are not reproducible, the report says, noting that this is a complex phenomenon and much remains to be learned. While a certain level of irreproducibility due to unknown variables or errors is a normal part of research, data falsification and detrimental research practices — such as inappropriate use of statistics or after-the-fact fitting of hypotheses to previously collected data — apparently also play a role. In addition, new forms of detrimental research practices are appearing, such as predatory journals that do little or no editorial review or quality control of papers while charging authors substantial fees. And the number of retractions of journal articles has increased, with a significant percentage of those retractions due to research misconduct. The report cautions, however, that this increase does not necessarily indicate that the incidence of misconduct is increasing, as more-vigilant scrutiny by the community may be a contributing factor.
The report endorses the definition of scientific misconduct proposed in the 1992 Academies report Responsible Science: “fabrication, falsification, or plagiarism in proposing, performing, or reporting research.” However, many practices that have until now been categorized as “questionable” research practices – for example, misleading use of statistics that falls short of falsification, and failure to retain research data — should be recognized as “detrimental” research practices, the new report says.
What a gem of an article, because of its revealing nature and its admission of serious failures in the current scientific world to produce accurate and meaningful information. It does not touch on either examples or on probable agendas that have brought about this corrupted science outcome, but there is plenty on this, and many associated blogs, to fill that space.
Perhaps the catastrophic global warming movement is an obvious example.
It is heartening to see that all main sciences are included, all have much to regret and redress.
Two items particularly appeal as highlights:
” The research enterprise is not broken, …” Interesting to consider the definition of “broken”. IMHO it is close to it, at least seriously flawed.
” …protect whistleblowers, ” Again, IMHO, this is such an important aspect of establishing acceptable integrity standards.
How I love this article!!!!
The complete article is linked here and ends with the following:
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Copies of Fostering Integrity in Research are available from the National Academies Press on the Internet at http://www.nap.edu or by calling 202-334-3313 or 1-800-624-6242. Reporters may obtain a copy from the Office of News and Public Information (contacts listed above).