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When It's Fiction, It's Fraud

Today it's Science magazine's turn to weigh in on the challenges of the current peer review system -- and acknowledge the problems it has encountered in the past few years for publishing papers that have become widely discredited in the field. In its end-of-year issue, Science assembled a series of the year's breakthroughs, and in that category editors included a piece entitled "Breakdown of the Year: Scientific Fraud."

Focusing on the scientists who have published falsified or otherwise manipulated research in recent years, Science reels off a dishonor roll, including Woo Suk Hwang from Seoul National University; Jon Sudbø of the Norwegian Radium Hospital; and Eric Poehlman, the University of Vermont researcher who was sentenced to prison for scientific misconduct.

The scientific fraud of Hwang and others like him has "shattered the trust of many researchers and members of the public in scientific journals' ability to catch instances of deliberate deception," according to the article in Science.

Vigilance might make a good watchword, but it certainly is easier said than done.


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