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Falling from the Pedestal

A spate of research fraud and misconduct cases have caught people's attention "because scientists are supposed to occupy a moral high ground when it comes to the search for truth about nature," writes Alok Jha at The Guardian. While science is supposed to be a self-correcting exercise, Jha adds that those corrections can be slow to arise and in the meantime can mislead scores of researchers. There is, he notes, a range of misconduct with outright plagiarism and fabrication at one end and, at the other, issues like guest or honorary authorships or not divulging conflicts of interest. Further, he says, "the pressure to commit misconduct is complex." Albert Einstein College of Medicine and the journal mBio's Arturo Casadevall tell Jha that "what is happening in recent years is that the rewards have become too high, for example, for publishing in certain journals. Just like we see the problem in sports that, if you compete and you get a reward, it translates into everything from money and endorsements and things like that. People begin to take risks because the rewards are disproportionate."

The Scan

Wolf Howl Responses Offer Look at Vocal Behavior-Related Selection in Dogs

In dozens of domestic dogs listening to wolf vocalizations, researchers in Communication Biology see responses varying with age, sex, reproductive status, and a breed's evolutionary distance from wolves.

Facial Imaging-Based Genetic Diagnoses Appears to Get Boost With Three-Dimensional Approach

With data for more than 1,900 individuals affected by a range of genetic conditions, researchers compared facial phenotype-based diagnoses informed by 2D or 3D images in the European Journal of Human Genetics.

Survey Suggests Multigene Cancer Panel VUS Reporting May Vary Across Genetic Counselors

Investigators surveyed dozens of genetic counselors working in clinical or laboratory settings, uncovering attitudes around VUS reporting after multigene cancer panel testing in the Journal of Genetic Counseling.

Study Points to Tuberculosis Protection by Gaucher Disease Mutation

A mutation linked to Gaucher disease in the Ashkenazi Jewish population appears to boost Mycobacterium tuberculosis resistance in a zebrafish model of the lysosomal storage condition, a new PNAS study finds.