During the Dark Ages a guild of professional assassins, rogues, and thieves willfully misled inquiries as to the guilt of fellow associates in order to exonerate them of their crimes. Although this behavior probably originated with the dawn of humanity, the thieves' guild was first to codify the dastardly practice. Centuries later, gangsters and professional mobsters, typified by Lucky Luciano and John Dillinger, exploited the tenets of the thieves' code of silence so successfully that it permeated virtually every realm of American society.

The last place that one would expect to encounter this sinister form of corruption would be in institutions of higher learning, deceit being the very antithesis of intellectualism. However, not only is a code of silence rife at many US universities, it remains the single largest impediment to expunging misconduct from scientific inquiry.

While most scientists agree on what constitutes scientific chicanery and malfeasance1 and an...

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