Friday, 8 July 2016


How can we trust what we read in the press or even in research papers?

Have 1 In 5 UK Academics Fabricated Data?

  • Date: 02/07/16
  • Retraction Watch

A small survey of UK academics suggests misconduct such as faking data and plagiarism is occurring surprisingly often. The survey — of 215 UK academics — estimated that 1 in 7 had plagiarized from someone else’s work, and nearly 1 in 5 had fabricated data.

Here’s how Joanna Williams and David Roberts at the University of Kent summarize the results in their full report, published by the Society for Research into Higher Education:
-Using references to support predetermined arguments rather than illuminate debate was undertaken by 38.1% (± 5.1%) respondents. This was the most frequently reported incidence of malpractice.
-36.0% (± 7.6%) of respondents reported self-plagiarising. This is more than one in three researchers.
-17.9% (± 6.1%) of academics surveyed reported having fabricated (entirely invented) research data. This is almost 1 in 5 researchers.
-13.6% (± 7.5%) of respondents reported having engaged in plagiarism.
Although these findings suggest there is cause for concern, they are higher than many of those reported by previous studies — including a 2014 paper by Roberts, which used similar survey methods and showed a fabrication rate of 0% among UK academics in biology.

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