Scientific Integrity and Mainstream Science

In legalese, the words that distinguish good science from bad are "mainstream" or "generally accepted." This is about as far as the law can go. This standard places a serious responsibility on the scientific community to ensure that mainstream science is indeed good science. Institutions are scrambling to develop means to monitor and deal with departures from proper scientific practices. Science reported1 that in Europe "a rising tide of retracted papers and some high-profile fraud cases

Theodore Rockwell
Mar 5, 2000

In legalese, the words that distinguish good science from bad are "mainstream" or "generally accepted." This is about as far as the law can go. This standard places a serious responsibility on the scientific community to ensure that mainstream science is indeed good science.

Institutions are scrambling to develop means to monitor and deal with departures from proper scientific practices. Science reported1 that in Europe "a rising tide of retracted papers and some high-profile fraud cases are finally stirring research groups into action ... the very structure of research institutions might be creating an environment that encourages research misconduct." The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) has published a quarterly Professional Ethics Report since 1988, with scores of reports in each issue on events relevant to scientific ethics. AAAS has also announced a Demonstration Project on Providing Independent Experts to the Federal Courts and is cosponsoring, with...