Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Issue about fabrication of research

Currently, fabrication of research is paid broad attention in Japan.

Recently, Novartis, a famous drug industry and some researchers are criticized due to publishing inappropriate results about the efficacy of Valsartan, a hypertension drug. This issue was so serious that the government began to investigate it as a criminal case.

Science insider: Novartis's Japan Unit Faces Criminal Probe for Hypertension Drug Marketing

A brand new study of STAP cell is also deemed strongly untrustworthy. The researchers are considering to retract the articles published in Nature, a world famous academic journal.

Mainichi: Japan gov't urges laboratory to probe STAP cell paper

It is not a problem occurred only in Japan. The number of retracted article is rapidly increasing. Approximately the half of the cases include some intentional misconducts, according to an investigation.

Plos One: A Comprehensive Survey of Retracted Articles from the Scholarly Literature 

Of course, there are some reasons why unwilling researches are born. The data show there are considerable cases with ethical problems. Fortunately, I have never been involved in such a wicked case. But I heard a certain researcher made an intentional control of the materials for preferable result. Most researchers are struggling to get a fund for further research. But once a research results in failure the fund would be cancelled. So researchers are forced to be obsessive to get a positive result.

I guess the researchers in other cases are more naive. If without any menace, some researchers make a fatal error which is deemed as a fabrication. It is due to lack of literacy. Plagiarism is also frequent, although the writer often do not recognize as they do.

In the US, rehabilitation and education program has been started for the researchers who committed an injustice. This aims to teach and repair them as potentially talented researchers. I knew about this matter from Etitage, a proofreading company.

PI Program

Nature News: ‘Rehab’ helps errant researchers return to the lab

In Japan, re-training course for car drivers, and physicians, who make accidents frequently is discussed. The outcome is uncertain, however, and great difficulties are anticipated to carry out these attempts.

I think there are three conditions for success of such special courses. First, it is essential that the trainee has no intention to do an injustice again. Pathological perpetrators are not suitable for ordinary rehabilitation. Second, a program is most effective when the trainee has lack of some essential skills. Something other than skills (e.g. Ethical mind, executive function) is hardly acquired in normal training Third, if the trainee has another way to live, I recommend him to change the occupation. The car driving technique is indispensable in rural area. The number of physicians is limited. Therefore, such skills are worthy to regain. But how about researchers?

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