[Sharoni] Shafir and [Donald] Kennedy are right to be concerned about the state of scientific misconduct--both real and perceived--in this country (Opinion, The Scientist, 12[13]:9, June 22, 1998), but they fall into the typical traps awaiting most researchers critiquing science journalism.

In the first place, they fault news media coverage of the Acadia study (J.P. Swazey et al., American Scientist, 81:542-53, 1993) as suggesting that "such misconduct is common." My perception of the overall reporting of that research was that incidents of actual misconduct, or activities that seem inappropriate, were more common than had been previously thought. The difference between the two statements is important since to date, no one really knows how prevalent scientific misconduct actually is.

Secondly, they fault reporters for excluding concerns over the possible role self- selection bias might have played in the study. Ben Bradlee, former editor of the Washington...

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