A clutch of research misconduct stories has hit the news in recent weeks. Is it a crisis?

Item 1: The retraction of a highly-cited paper by Science after one of the paper's authors was found guilty of fabricating and falsifying data by an investigatory committee at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.1 The work concerns the mechanism underlying Cockayne Syndrome, a rare disorder in which patients exposed to UV radiation lose the capacity to perform a certain type of DNA repair.

Crisis? No, but there's room for concern here given that eight years had gone by between the paper's publication and its retraction. That's particularly galling given that research by the fabricating author, Steven Leadon, had been under the ethical microscope before. He had retracted one of his own papers, and resigned his position as director of radiobiology amidst an investigation into other work.2


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