Is it morally wrong to publish fraudulent research?

askme
askme

I may or may not have doctored graphs and images to get the result I want and have published 8 papers during my PhD. I don't work in academia anymore but I still feel guilty doing what I did. But in my defence my supervisor was forcing the publish or perish meme on me, so I published.

All urls found in this thread:
http://retractionwatch.com/
Deadlyinx
Deadlyinx

Just wait for people to call you on it, then your career will be over.

Methshot
Methshot

Well given that most of science research is funded by vested interests and carried out by underpaid people who have more interest in making a living, I wouldn't sweat it.

Sharpcharm
Sharpcharm

@Deadlyinx
They don't even have any citations yet. I was careful to not boast about any of my research to anyone when asked.

Skullbone
Skullbone

Are there any practical implications to your work, people going to get hurt or lose out?

Did your supervisor know?

Flameblow
Flameblow

@askme
Get in touch with the ombudsperson for scientific misconduct of your former university. Email them. They can help you confidentially.

RavySnake
RavySnake

Is it morally wrong to publish fraudulent research?
YES YOU FREAK

TurtleCat
TurtleCat

@Sharpcharm
just know that there's plenty of people like me that upon meeting someone in their field of study will google them, find their previous work, and read it.
I don't do it to find frauds, but because it's a good way of making bonds with people in my field of interest, and furthering my knowledge. If I figure out that I'm wasting my time on something that's obviously made up, I won't think twice before calling it out to this people supervisors and to the publishers of the paper.

LuckyDusty
LuckyDusty

@Methshot
Couldn't the guy just push both sides over?

VisualMaster
VisualMaster

Probably someone will just discover you're a fraud and then it will be the end of your career, dude.

ZeroReborn
ZeroReborn

@TurtleCat
implying the publishers would respond to another white knight redditor on allegations of scientific misconduct

JunkTop
JunkTop

@VisualMaster
But I don't evenwork in academia or government anymore. I do something completely unrelated to what I did my PhD, masters and bachelors in.

BunnyJinx
BunnyJinx

You are everything that is wrong with academia.
You deserve to work at McDonald's for the rest of your life.
Imagine someone trying to learn taking your results as fact, building their understanding based on your fraud. How tragic would that be, built on falsehoods paraded as fact...disgusting

StrangeWizard
StrangeWizard

I don't think you're the first one to do that. What is your field OP?

New_Cliche
New_Cliche

@JunkTop
That's OK then.

Stupidasole
Stupidasole

@LuckyDusty
If he knew that karma was going to hit him he would
But that's the point of karma, you just don't know
The pic should ve been more of a pyramid though

Nojokur
Nojokur

@Stupidasole
*labyrinth
I'm a dummy

Illusionz
Illusionz

@askme
be me
start working at the department of mechanics right after graduating
small industrial project, we have to compute results with a "new" technique
my boss says "anon dont worry this was already done by this french guy, he did a PhD on it so you're safe, we already know it works we just wanna train you etc."
ok
fast forward a few months
shit aint working on the mechanical simulation, everyone's perplexed.
read the dude's PhD thesis IN FRENCH
mostly descriptive, in a "you have to believe what I say, I published papers on this" way.
ask for papers
they are the same shit, they explain a simple clase first, then "annotate" the complex one without really saying anything, then post pics with results without saying what are they comparing and with what.
ask for the dude's code
after 2 weeks diving in it I get it to work
same fucking problem we were having, with this supossedly "working" code he used for the thesis.
turns out it was fraudulent as fuck, too many details to explain here on Veeky Forums but
end point: we were fucked, I left the department as soon as my contract ended, my bosses had to put hours and hours to get it to work.

PEOPLE LIKE YOU DESERVE TO DIE.

Nude_Bikergirl
Nude_Bikergirl

OP, I think we need to know, what are the practical implications for anyone following your work?

Garbage Can Lid
Garbage Can Lid

Organic electronics?

Lord_Tryzalot
Lord_Tryzalot

@Illusionz
What were your bosses reaction when they found out the research was fraud? Were they like "I don't care, FIX IT. I NEED THIS DONE YESTERDAY!" or were they as shocked as you?

Spamalot
Spamalot

@Lord_Tryzalot
shocked. They couldn't get too angry because they were friends with the thesis director of the french guy.
I have to say they were pretty supportive and helped me a lot when shit hitted the fan.

Evil_kitten
Evil_kitten

@Illusionz
Did you report the frenchie?

viagrandad
viagrandad

@Nude_Bikergirl
Not much. Except that this field is dying in reality but kept alive by memes. Whatever money there was initially has already been made and patented.

happy_sad
happy_sad

@Spamalot
Well you sure got lucky. I once had a boss who forced me to work on a project that he knew was doomed to failure.

iluvmen
iluvmen

@viagrandad
Well, there's only two ways to go. Chalk it up to experience, forget it and move on. Or come clean, bare your soul and beat your breast and beg forgiveness from whomever you need to.

Gigastrength
Gigastrength

@Deadlyinx
@RavySnake
@TurtleCat
@VisualMaster
@BunnyJinx
@New_Cliche
@Stupidasole
@Illusionz

implying karma is real

WebTool
WebTool

@Gigastrength
Reread my post god damn brainlet

JunkTop
JunkTop

@askme
Is it morally wrong to publish fraudulent research?

What the fuck kind of question is that? How would it not be?

viagrandad
viagrandad

@WebTool
@Gigastrength
@Stupidasole
That's not what karma is...

Bidwell
Bidwell

@askme
what are your initials, area of research, and institution, so that nobody will risk quoting you?

lostmypassword
lostmypassword

@askme

Is your supervisor first author?

Raving_Cute
Raving_Cute

@askme
doctored graphs and images

Contact the journal(s) and send a updated/corrected version of your papers.

JunkTop
JunkTop

@askme
Is it morally wrong to publish fraudulent research?
Yes. Both because your research is misleading and may slow down progress in your field, and because it undoubtedly violates the ethics of your funding body and university.
But in my defence my supervisor was forcing the publish or perish meme on me, so I published.
That means if you can't publish, you do better work or aim lower. If you're already at the lowest tier of journals, maybe it's time to git gud or quit.

GoogleCat
GoogleCat

@ZeroReborn
http://retractionwatch.com/
?

Ignoramus
Ignoramus

@askme
Academia will fucking stone you to death if they find out.

Emberburn
Emberburn

@Ignoramus
And let he who is without sin cast the first stone.

Boy_vs_Girl
Boy_vs_Girl

@Emberburn
I unironically support academics who have never published fraudulent research literally stoning to death those who ever have.

King_Martha
King_Martha

@Ignoramus
@Boy_vs_Girl

Yes, and this because academics question everything, and reject so much, including obvious moral principles, for the sake of a greater intellectual inquiry. Moralities of any kind, even unto depravity, are regularly supposed and discussed, and we are told that they must be entertained "for discussion".

But the minute that someone writes a fraud, or plagarizes, or scoops, or rips off, or cheats on a test, etc, (as opposed to, you know, /actually killing another human being, raping someone, fiddling a minor etc/) /then/ we see the real bedrock of an academic's morality, which forsakes the latter more real considerations in favor of the former, more abstract (and personal, for them) ones: /hey, you're being dishonest. That is the worst thing that you can possibly be, certainly not doing literal violence to others/.) I leave aside the obvious pushback here where dishonesty leads to bad social policy etc, but that's an expanded discussion. My immediate point is to underline the stupidity of the academic value system, or code, an outright luxury, when compared with other more immediate codes.

Academics are weak old skinnyfats whose own code, own morality, is but another specific and self-interested morality, which is really a far sight removed from other higher, prior moral considerations.

Spamalot
Spamalot

is this whole publish or perish thing really that bad? is it going to hit some kind of breaking point when fraudulent research becomes so much of a nuisance? jesus this is depressing

iluvmen
iluvmen

@Methshot
Tell me more about how the DOE's interests in fast computers taints the research they fund on faster computers

Gigastrength
Gigastrength

Yes it's morally wrong. You can lead science in the wrong direction and have people on a goose chase and making fraudulent claims based on your work.

@Deadlyinx
Nobody is going to do it because people are lazy. He likely won't be called on his shit due to the PhD and the fact that a lot of people are statistically illiterate and take graphs for what they are instead of asking for the raw data and double checking the presentation. The only one who'll catch it is his supervisor, and of they don't catch it nobody likely will.

TreeEater
TreeEater

@Deadlyinx
has this ever actually happened

TurtleCat
TurtleCat

@King_Martha
It is never more moral to publish fraudulent findings than publish the truth. Outside of implications in academia, fraudulent findings can literally affect the economy, product/tech development, politics/government decisions, and more. People with PhDs quite literally have a social responsibility to not lie with their research. The impact can change the direction of human history depending on the "finding" and the field. It's completely understandable why someone would advocate for the death of someone lying about research.

haveahappyday
haveahappyday

@TurtleCat

You have clearly not read and understood my post, because I explicitly anticipated your correct concern that lies lead to bad social policy, which can lead to mass human death, catastrophe, etc, which I purport to dislike and wish to avoid.

You also (perhaps, it's possible I'm misreading your rhetoric) seem to falsely intimate by your first sentence here that I suggested that it is more moral to publish false things than to publish the truth. That is not the comparison that I made, and that is perfectly clear by reading my post @King_Martha
.

The point that I made, is that cultural academic argument over fraud, plagarism, and related categories of intellectual misrepresentation and/or intellectual theft, always, and of-themselves insofar as they are nascent, and not immediatley impactful upon lived human experience (that was a tedious clause, as is this parentheses, but it's necessary to frame the thing properly), I say that such academic arguments, such academic culture, are a specific and a lesser value system in a definite, "dumb-simple" sense: it is a quite different thing for two comfy old skinnyfat professors to be locked in some departmental or legal fight over the status (honest/dishonest/plagarism/legal/illegal/ethical/etc) of their work, while that skinny Somalia baby dies of thirst or something. The latter precedes the former, and not the other way round.

cont.

iluvmen
iluvmen

@haveahappyday

I've also anticipated the need to have the larger discussion about this side of academia, and the real (potentially bad) social policy entailed by bogus publications, fraud, etc. Treachery was most hated by Dante, and there is a long tradition of hating and expelling liars, I appreciate that as well. We were all children once, and those of us who are not sociopaths understand that telling lies is bad, because it leads to a cognitive dissonance, getting in trouble, etc, /misrepresenting reality/. But that wasn't my above point, which was to underline the more basic absurdity of the idea that wilfully publishing a bogus paper is down on a moral Cocytus with, say, running abortion clinics (you don't have to be, nor should you be religious to still appreciate how execrable the latter practice is), being a contract killer, a Stalin, a Hitler, etc.

Killing /now/, /directly/, is worse than killing /later/, /indirectly/, /with arguably good intentions/, etc. The remaining consideration is thus one of scale, and this observation dovetails into the possibility of a real discussion, for which I've mentioned actually comparing academic fraud with again, say, someone shooting someone else on the street, in cold blood, or for no reason, or so on.

I earlier entertained academic alternative moralities in a vague way, which might be more attributed to non-STEM fields, but upon reflection STEM endeavour is just as susceptible to depravity: for example, wishing to effect biological immortality, or absurd life extension.

lostmypassword
lostmypassword

@askme
Is it morally wrong to publish fraudulent research?
You knew the answer to this before posting.

Poker_Star
Poker_Star

@TreeEater
www.newyorker.com/magazine/2016/02/29/the-stem-cell-scandal/amp

Gigastrength
Gigastrength

@askme
Just get legitimate results and notify wherever you published them that there was a mistake, and send them the correct shit

Ignoramus
Ignoramus

pilot wave has been proven true
copenhagen has been debunked
copenhagen is still taught because old relics can't handle change
everyone's OK with this

some random user on some meaningless paper fudged some numbers
omg you're distorting all of science!

Playboyize
Playboyize

@King_Martha
@haveahappyday
@iluvmen
You're an incredibly boring person who think he's being deep and your writing style is painful to read. Please leave this board until you turn 18.

BinaryMan
BinaryMan

Yeah you morally void cunt, course its amoral

BunnyJinx
BunnyJinx

@iluvmen
Yeah, I'm gonna need you to sit your pseudo-intellectual ass down, pls.

BunnyJinx
BunnyJinx

@Ignoramus
Pilot wave has not been proven.

I think you never opened an actual introduction to QM book

Sir_Gallonhead
Sir_Gallonhead

@askme

If morality lies in doing what we feel is right, and if we consider that stringency in research is essential to make science worthwhile, then we could argue that falsifying research is immoral and thus that punishing such behaviour is moral.

I don't think you need a moral case, tho, since there is the pragmatic one that science doesn't work if people make up their results, and for that reason alone it is a good idea to punish fraudsters.

Boy_vs_Girl
Boy_vs_Girl

@askme
What field OP?

If social science related, no-one would notice because they are all fraudulent. In medicine any industry sponsored research is garbage, etc.

Burnblaze
Burnblaze

@askme
Just hope nobody finds out. And if they do, just play dumb "it was a mistake". Everybody does it; its how this world works.

WebTool
WebTool

@Playboyize

No I am not, there's nothing wrong with my prose, I'll continue posting here as I please, there's nothing that you can do about it, and I'm past thirty. :^)

Crazy_Nice
Crazy_Nice

@TreeEater
who is Mark Hauser?

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