WASHINGTON—Drummond Rennie is a self-professed “fraudy”— his term for members of the coterie of journal editors, university administrators, science lobbyists, and government officials who are called on to affer testimony, give lectures, and attend meetings on science fraud. But that doesn’t mean that Rennie, deputy editor of the Journal of the American Medical Association, enjoys the title. In fact, he doesn’t think that fraud is very common within the research community, and he positively resents having to air what he calls “biomedicine’s dirty linen.”

But Rennie is also a realist. He recognizes the growing concern in Congress that scarce public funds are being squandered by fradulent scientists, and he understands the damage that a few well-publicized cases of serious misconduct can do to the reputation of science. He also knows that the first step in finding the answer to any problem including fraud, is to collect data.

That’s why Rennie...

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