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To Catch a Cheat

With recent reports of fraud or cheating within even the highest echelons of science, the New York Times editorial board writes that the "scientific community clearly needs to build a better safety net."

Just last week, the journal Science retracted a high-profile political science paper that purported to show that a short conversation could change voters' minds about marriage equality, but has since been called into question. And, the Times notes, earlier last month, the Journal of Clinical Investigation retracted a cancer genetics paper because of fabricated data. As a glimpse at the blog Retraction Watch would confirm, there are even more instances of research wrongdoing that go on.

In theory, there are safeguards to gird against the publication of bad data, the Times editorial board writes, but these tend to break down when peer reviewers, who are not compensated for their time, don't have access to data they need.

They argue that peer reviewers need access to such vital data. In addition, they say that the US Office of Research Integrity needs to be well funded so that it can investigate instances of major misconduct and suggest that studies into the extent and effects of research misconduct as well as how to contend with it are warranted.