The increasingly competitive funding atmosphere "breeds unethical behavior," writes James Hicks, a physiologist at the University of California, Irvine, in an opinion piece at The Scientist.

Hicks charts funding success rates at the US National Institutes of Health versus the number of retracted papers and says that "we have reached such a threshold: when only around 20 percent of grants are funded, the numbers of retractions skyrockets."

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