Now comes a case of a Japanese anesthesiologist Yoshitake Fujii who apparently fabricated data on an epic scale for over two decades. About half of his incredible output of nearly 200 papers over this period (itself grounds for suspicion) are likely to be retracted by journals.
What is most disturbing is a new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that says that misconduct lies behind most of the retractions, not error.
The field of psychology has been especially getting a black eye. Ed Yong, who has been doing excellent work covering this issue, says that Nobel prize winning psychologist Daniel Kahneman, whose work I have also been highlighting, has written to colleagues telling them that their credibility is in danger, especially in the area of priming research, and urges the adoption of an open and transparent replication process to prevent further abuses.
Scientists and academics have no real financial or political power. Any influence they possess comes from the faith that the general public has in them that they are knowledgeable and unbiased seekers of the truth. This image has been subjected to assault by those with overt political agendas because they do not like the scientific consensus in areas like climate change or health or evolution. They will use misconduct in one area to discredit all of academic research.
We should not give those people any ammunition. This requires academics to be ever more vigilant and put in place internal controls to minimize the danger of fraud and other forms of misconduct.