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Scientific Fraud

Scientific fraud continues to be a great moral debate, as evidenced by articles in The Scientist and general media. Sometimes our zeal to take part in these debates hinders our resolve to find practical solutions for them. To greet with hushed shock the possibility that something may have been put into a journal that was not true is to imply that it is a rare event. Not only is it not a rare event, but it is common. Since science does not depend on every detail's being absolutely and irrevocab

Thomas Steffens
Scientific fraud continues to be a great moral debate, as evidenced by articles in The Scientist and general media. Sometimes our zeal to take part in these debates hinders our resolve to find practical solutions for them. To greet with hushed shock the possibility that something may have been put into a journal that was not true is to imply that it is a rare event. Not only is it not a rare event, but it is common.

Since science does not depend on every detail's being absolutely and irrevocably true, we must not nitpick, or science may be inhibited. We do not know exactly how science proceeds, and if we tamper with the process, especially via arbitrary agencies outside of science, more harm than good may be done. We should marvel that objective science has progressed to the degree that it has in spite of the fact that subjective...

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