Addressing Scientific Fraud

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Science  02 Dec 2011:
Vol. 334, Issue 6060, pp. 1182
DOI: 10.1126/science.1216775

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An interim report released in October 2011 by Tilburg University, Netherlands, concluded that one of its faculty members, social psychologist Diederik Stapel, fabricated data for numerous studies conducted over a period of 15 to 20 years.* The good news, of course, is that the fraud was eventually uncovered. The bad news is that it went undetected for so long and involved so many scientific articles—over 100 publications are now under investigation. The costs of the fraud for the careers of young scientists and others who worked with him, for science, and for public trust in science are devastating. As the investigation unfolds, the moment is opportune to reflect on what can be done to protect science and the public from fraud in the future.