One in twelve Belgian medical scientists admits having “made up and/or massaged data”: Survey
Of the 315 participating scientists, four (1.3%) admit to having made up data at least once in the last three years. If what they say is true, this probably concerns fraud that is still undiscovered. 23 respondents (7.3%) admit to having selectively removed data or results to make research match a hypothesis, so-called ‘data massaging’. Overall, about 8% of the Flemish medical scientists admits to recently having made up and/or massaged data.
Eos compares those figures to those in a meta-analysis by Daniele Fanelli that we often quote, and finds that the Flanders survey paints a worse picture than other studies. Fanelli’s study found that about 2% of scientists in a number of disciplines around the world admitted to faking or massaging data, and that
an average of 14% of the respondents had noticed made up or manipulated data in colleagues’ research. Here, too, Flemish figures are much higher: 47% has witnessed such practices in their direct surroundings or heard about them firsthand.
The survey also tried to pinpoint the reasons for fraud, and pressure to publish came out on top. Read the whole piece here.
Update, 10:30 a.m. Eastern, 3/26/13: Headline corrected from “one in eight” to “one in 12,” reflecting 8%. Apologies for the error.