Books Wednesday, February 8, 2006. Post by Drog
While carefully examining the data for every publication would be prohibitively expensive, several techniques to screen for falsified data have been developed. For example, images can be checked for after-the-fact manipulation. The scandals have led to some readers looking more carefully at suspicious papers for evidence that the data are human-manufactured. Jan Hendrik Schön’s fraud was partly revealed due to just such analysis by readers in 2002.
Some institutions are taking further steps to prevent fraud. In October, Emory University introduced a tip line where people can anonymously report suspicions of scientific misconduct. So far, five investigations have been launched based on reports to the tip line.
While many steps are being taken to deter future scandals, some scientists have pointed out that such fraud does not discredit all science. Dieter Imboden, the president of the Swiss National Science Foundation’s Research Council, has said: “Bear in mind that every experiment will be repeated at some stage and it is one of the important principles of science that only things which can be verified independently by different groups are considered to be safe scientific facts.”
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