(NaturalNews) The journal Nature sounded an alarm in the scientific and medical communities in 2011 by reporting that the number of research papers that had to be retracted was soaring to over 300 a year. The findings were often excused as simply honest mistakes. But now the real truth is coming out. Greed, forgery, and downright lies are behind much of this scientific fraud. And the researchers who make up facts and figures to snag lucrative grants and commit these crimes usually get away with little punishment.
Dr. Arturo Casadevall of Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx and Dr. Ferric C. Fang of the University of Washington collaborated with R. Grant Steen, a medical communications consultant in Chapel Hill, N.C., to get to the bottom of the real reasons for the retracted papers in the biomedical and life sciences journals. In all, they looked at 2,047 of these articles that were retracted and they found the most common cause was far worse than they had imagined.
Their analysis, just published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found that misconduct was the reason for three-quarters of the retractions for which they could definitely find a cause. What kind of misconduct exactly? Making sloppy mistakes and, far worse, making up false data for incentives that include raking in hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars in grant money as well as academic recognition leading to raises.
These retracted papers (up 10 times in the last decade, according to the Nature article) contain research conclusions that aren't just gaffes or meaningless BS. They can influence the way drugs are pushed and prescribed -- with potentially deadly consequences. Take the case of Boris Cheskis, a senior scientist at Big Pharma's Wyeth Research in the mid-2000s, and his colleagues who published two papers on the benefits of estrogen. When too many questions were raised, the scientists retracted both papers, admitting that some of their findings and data were "unreliable." The truth: two years ago, the Office of Research Integrity at the federal Department of Health and Human Services announced Dr. Cheskis had actually falsified the figures he used.
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