Fakery among scientists?

This past Thursday the Chronicle of Higher Education reported “Journals Find Fakery in Many Images Submitted to Support Research“.

I was astounded. How could this happen?

In two weeks I’ll be at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center delivering a talk to “young scientists” and I am now wondering if I should add a piece in that says…

“Hey, don’t do this! Why risk your career?”

There are 2 comments .

Mike —

For me it’s more basic than “Why risk your career?” Unless it’s life or death, lying is really a moral question, not a risk assessment question.

The woman who was caught was quoted as saying she did it because she “…was trying to present it even better.” Maybe you could tell your young audience, “don’t lie, learn to do excellent work and learn to present it with excellence.”

It’s not always easy to make your case based on the truth, but it’s the way to go… you have evidence and you’re drawing conclusions. They should stand or fall, or simply contribute to the conversation, on their merits.


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Lisa B. Marshall

Yep, you are right, no one should lie. (Interestingly, according to many studies many of us do. See the following link as example. http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2002-06/uoma-urf061002.php)

Perhaps what I should have said was,”Don’t alter your data…period”. Some alterations are made with a “good intention” of making the images clearer or more readable–particularly when it comes to gels. My point was it wasn’t worth the risk to alter an image, it is better to do over again, photograph again, or simply submit the unclear gel as is.

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