Research integrity during the COVID-19 pandemic: A book excerpt

Ferric Fang

We are pleased to present an excerpt from Thinking About Science: Good Science, Bad Science, and How to Make It Better by Ferric C. Fang and Arturo Casadevall, published by ASM Press/Wiley, October 2023.

Amidst the COVID-19 calamity, one can argue that science is one of the few aspects of the human response that has worked relatively well. However, despite the many advances in preventing and treating COVID-19, there have also been missteps as the world has scrambled to respond to a deadly new pathogen. It has been humbling for the U.S. to lead large high-income countries in per capita deaths from COVID-19 even with its wealth and scientific expertise. We are all too aware of the needless illnesses and deaths that have resulted from misguided political leadership, inadequate preparation, delayed responses, fragile supply chains, health disparities, and vaccine hesitancy. But we will not dwell on these issues here. Rather, we would like to review the COVID-19 pandemic through the prism of the 3R’s of research integrity: rigor, reproducibility, and responsibility. These form the fundamental pillars of the foundation of science. It is appropriate that we devote more attention to the foibles than to the successes so that we can learn from the mistakes and missed opportunities. What could have been done better? What needs to improve?

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