Many scientists have reported questionable research practices according to a study conducted by the University of Minnesota and a Minneapolis research
foundation. The study, appearing in the journal Nature, questioned some 1,768 mid-career scientists and 1,479 scientists early in their career. The
study concluded that the research practices of such scientists are a grave threat to the science world. The top two reported forms of misconduct are
changing a study under pressure from a funding source (15.5%) and dropping data on an analysis because of a "gut feeling" (15.3%). A run-down of the
data can be found from the Washington Post link.
The scientists had all received National Institutes of Health funding but were not NIH employees. Their names, which were withheld, were culled
randomly from NIH databases.
The 2002 survey was funded by the NIH and supported by the federal Office of Research Integrity, which investigates scientists accused of research
fraud and can bar them from receiving federal funds.
"Our evidence suggests that mundane 'regular' misbehaviors present greater threats to the scientific enterprise than those caused by high-profile
cases such as fraud," the authors wrote. They speculated that intense competition among scientists to attract grants and publish in prestigious
journals, among other things, might be the problems.
Please visit the link provided for the complete story.
We place a lot of trust upon scientists, governmental officials, and corporations on giving us truth. But, this trust is essentially blind, with our
lives and future dependent on research being conducted. I remember a story being reported on ATS not too long ago about the project leader for a
Taser safety study leaving since he was the head scientist for the Taser manufacturer! I can't stress enough that in today's time, in the so-called
information age, a healthy amount of skepticism is necessary even from the most trusted news sources.
You don't know these people, have you ever talked to the president personally, how about the science board of the NIH? We don't know their desires,
their "gut feelings", we know essentially nothing about them except for what they want us to know.
Even schools aren't safe:
In May, for example, the New England Journal of Medicine published a study that found that about half of 107 U.S. medical schools surveyed
would let companies that sponsor academic research draft resulting articles that appear in medical journals.
I've seen a lot of peope rely on news sources for "evidence" of their thought and beliefs about the world. Question yourself about why you believe
what you do. Where does this belief come from? What might be the reason for your source saying what they do? Do expect the head of a Taser safety
study to report that Taser's often kill people even though he is the head scientist for the manufacturer? These are the kinds of questions people
should be asking themself, whatever story you may read, even this one.
Trust yourself, your senses and your analytical thinking.
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