What this site is…
www.science-fraud.org is a blog site, highlighting misconduct in published papers in the life sciences. It is intended to provide a vehicle for scientists to anonymously report suspicions of image fraud, data manipulation and other problems with published manuscripts. To date, such suspicions have often been reported on blogs such as retraction watch, but there is a need for a site dedicated to this type of discourse.
It is also intended to provide a catalyst for further investigations by regulatory authorities or scientific journals. Many journals editors ignore emails from anonymous whistle blowers. Similarly, many regulatory authorities take years to investigate suspicions of fraud. By placing accusations of scientific misconduct in the public domain, it is hoped both of these processes can be changed for the betterment of science.
At the moment, the focus is basic life sciences, because that’s what the fraudster is most familiar with. In the future she may be open to the possibility of sharing authorship on this site with scientists who have expertise in other subject areas.
What this site is not…
This site is not intended as a soap opera, a gossip-booth, a circus side-show, or an arena for watching slow-moving train wrecks unfold (although admittedly it does have some entertainment value if you’re sick like that). Furthermore it is not a libel mill or a place for wild accusations not based in fact. Remember – everything posted here is merely presenting what is already out there in the public domain cast in a different light. If you feel in any way that something posted here is factually incorrect, the fraudster will be happy to engage in dialog regarding its removal.
About the fraudster…
The fraudster is a PhD level scientist who holds a tenured faculty position at a small academic institution in the US. Her research is funded by a federal agency and she has published over 100 peer reviewed papers in the biomedical literature. Outside the lab she likes heavy drinking and fast bikes (rumor has it she’s pretty hot).
Starting in about 2008, in her capacity as grant reviewer, paper reviewer and editorial board member, the fraudster began to encounter numerous cases of scientific misconduct, and became dissatisfied with the current systems for addressing it. This site is her attempt to increase transparency in the reporting and processing of research fraud.
There are multiple reasons why scientific misconduct (and suspicions of it) should be out in the open. First, research fraud costs millions of dollars in wasted taxpayer money (here‘s an idea how much!) Second, it perpetuates scientific myths which can do enormous damage to a given field, by prompting even honest researchers to pursue dead end hypotheses. Third, it undermines the public perception of science, which can do untold damage to federal and other research budgets. Fourth, it’s just plain wrong!
If you agree, send something in… firstname.lastname@example.org
The legal bit…
Obviously this site deals with information which, in the right hands, could have devastating consequences for the persons involved. As such, it is important to remember that everything reported here is in the public domain, submitted to scientific journals and published for all to see. As such, cease-and-desist letters from individuals whose work I report on will be ignored, because I’m only highlighting what’s already out there and allowing readers to draw their own conclusions. Similarly, requests from journal editors to take down information will be treated with appropriate level of disdain – if you didn’t want to be embarrassed by publishing iffy data then you shouldn’t have published it in the first place (and maybe you should tighten up peer review). If however you have a genuine legal beef, and feel that something published here is factually incorrect, I will be happy to discuss editing or removal.