Fraud and Misconduct in Publishing Medical Research


One of the important feature of scientific research is scrutinizing truth. Investigators strive for honesty and integrity in all scientific communications.  Candidly reported methods and procedures, data and results, and their publication status should reflect authenticity. Publication of fake data diverts the search from truth. The aim of studying human subjects should be advancing research and scholarship and not just the researcher’s own career. Misconduct in medical research is any intentional deviation from acceptable ethical principles. Intentional misconduct is a serious observation, and misconduct such as falsification and fabrication of data and plagiarism are the most common fraud practices in medical research. Misconduct can occur at any stage of the research process; however, it particularly occurs in the results section of the research as researchers try to avoid negative findings. Data falsification occurs when investigators attempt to alter data to meet their own expectations. Falsification could involve altering data and results on research participants’ record to fit research report. Data fabrication occurs when researchers report data that were completely constructed and never occurred when running the research. Plagiarism is using—either deliberate or inattentive—other researchers’ ideas and words without clearly acknowledging the source of that information. Although fraud and misconduct have serious consequences, they are not uncommon among research publications in scientific journals. Institutions have to develop a mechanism to discover research misconduct and to prevent it. Editors and reviewers are required to introduce some commentaries in the regulations to impose sanctions on those found guilty of research misconduct.

Key words: research, fraud, misconduct

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