Scientific Misconduct

Scientific Misconduct - Yocom 1 Blake Yocom Freshman...

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Yocom 1 Blake Yocom Freshman Seminar Professor Goldberg 16 February 2006 Scientific Fraud and Misconduct Introduction Science has improved the quality of life for humans around the globe and throughout history there has been a general consensus that scientific discovery is both beneficial and necessary. If Alexander Fleming had not discovered Penicillin in 1928, many fatalities may still occur due to infections (Nobel) . The research by James Watson and Francis Crick in the 1950s led to the understanding of DNA structure. Today, DNA is vital in criminal investigations, the study of heredity and historical inquiry (Nature) . Without the scientific discoveries of years past, it is unimaginable what our current standard of living and way of life would be. It is easy to take for granted the positive scientific advancements of yesterday and forget about the future at hand. With the rise of research in genetics, stem cells, and a plethora of other subjects, what tomorrow brings is unknown. It is absolutely vital to produce scientific research that is sound, peer-reviewed, and ethical. Without these norms, consequences will undoubtedly arise. Sadly, within the scientific community are scientists who engage in fraudulent activity. Although scientific fraud goes back centuries as in the case of the Piltdown Man, recent examples such as the Hendrik Schön and South Korean Scientist, Woo Suk Hwang, bring this issue to light. Motivation for Fraud
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Yocom 2 Scientific misconduct is defined as the violation of the standard codes of scholarly conduct and ethical behavior in professional scientific research (Scientific) . Among the nearly 3,500 research institutions that report to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, roughly three percent admit scientific misconduct ( Scientific) . “Scientific fraud is not new and is not rare,” stated Donald Kennedy, PhD., Science editor-in-chief (Kennedy) . Perhaps fraud is inevitable in the scientific community as it is in many other industries. However, what makes scientific fraud different is the direct impact on society. For example, if a breakthrough in science offers a cure to a currently fatal disease, the promise of life is offered to those suffering. When this research is found to be fabricated, the hope of those involved is shattered. This type of behavior by fraudulent scientists decreases public support for further research (Con) . The fundamental question to be answered is the rational behind such activity. Such reasons include: ambition, fear of competition, nationalism, and pressure from funding sources (Spotts) . Ambition and fear of competition work in conjunction with a deep desire and commitment to be the best in the field, which requires, publishing numerous scientific research papers in credited journals. “They (scientists) are bright people working in a community where the best ideas rise to the top. If you’re not in first place, you’re no place” says Thomas Murray, president of a bioethics institute, the Hastings Center
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This note was uploaded on 02/16/2012 for the course BIOL_SCI 108 taught by Professor Goldberg during the Winter '06 term at Northwestern.

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Scientific Misconduct - Yocom 1 Blake Yocom Freshman...

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