Tide of lies

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Science  17 Aug 2018:
Vol. 361, Issue 6403, pp. 636-641
DOI: 10.1126/science.361.6403.636

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  • RE: The Use of P-values in Tide of Lies

    Dr. Jeremy Berg Editor-in-Chief, Science
    1200 New York Avenue, NW
    Washington, D.C. 20005

    Dear Dr. Berg:

    In “Tide of Lies: The Researcher at the Center of an Epic Scientific Fraud Remains an Enigma to the Scientists Who Exposed Him” (Science, vol. 361, issue 6403, pp. 636-641, August 17, 2018), Kai Kupferschmidt reports on an important effort to expose a stream of fraudulent research. In so doing, he incorrectly describes a p-value as "a measure of the similarity between two groups for a given characteristic; the closer to one the value is, the more the groups resemble each other" (p. 638).

    As you are undoubtedly aware, p-values are somewhat controversial these days. They are frequently mischaracterized and misunderstood (e.g., see Greenland et al., 2016) and p- values are notoriously difficult to correctly describe. One psychology journal has banned the use of statistical inferential methods, including the use of p-values, potentially to the detriment of the reported research (Fricker et al., to appear). Furthermore, the misuse and abuse of p-values, and statistical methods more generally, is likely a contributing factor to the reproducibility difficulties being experienced in some areas of experimental science.

    For example, the recent article by Fraser et al. (2018) describes "Questionable Research Practices" in ecology and evolution, including the cherry picking of data to achieve statistical significance – ty...

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    Competing Interests: None declared.
  • Fraudsters delay advancing science

    Kai Kupferschmidt wrote an article entitled “Tide of lies” (1). Japanese researchers publish 5% papers out of the world (1). Based on the Retraction Watch Leaderboard (2), it indicates that half of the top 10 are Japanese researchers (1). Japanese fraudsters include at the top Yoshitaka Fujii (total retractions: 183), at the 6th Yoshihiro Sato (42),at the 8th Shigeaki Kato (39), at the 9th Jun Iwamoto (38), at the 10th Yuhji Saitoh (38) (2). Fraudsters must understand that fabricated data can be eventually discovered sooner or later. Lies or frauds delay the progress of science. In order to escape from the delay in advancing science, we must diminish frauds. A scam researcher does not consider fabricating data as a serious problem. In order to reduce scam researchers, moral or ethics problems of highly educated researchers must be solved. Kai Kupferschmidt questioned what explains the number of prolific Japanese fraudsters? In Japan there are many submissive (obedient) researchers. Article 27 Constitution of Prince Shotoku (574-622) states that “Cherish the harmony among people” or “Harmony is the greatest of virtues”. Surprisingly, we in Japan have kept it as of today. We must change the obedient researchers into researchers with a strong sense of ethics and morals.

    1. Kai Kupferschmidt, Tide of lies, Science 17 Aug 2018: Vol. 361, Issue 6403, pp. 636-641
    2. https://...

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    Competing Interests: None declared.
  • What to do without being involved with research misconduct

    Kai Kupferschmidt reported about Japanese scientific fraud (1). The Japanese researchers listed in this article are all related to medical fields, and a co-author of them became a university president. Regarding medical fields, currently, it has revealed that Tokyo Medical University permitted backdoor admission to a son of a governmental officer (2). It resulted that the Japan Accreditation Council for Medical Education revoked the accreditation (3). In any case, in order to gain the power, the mission of the university is being neglected.
    In any field, there are cases that candidates are decided before disclosing public recruitment. (Surprisingly, in the period between the referred article and this letter, the unfair public recruitment was explicitly written in a questionnaire survey for Japanese researchers, even though it was unwritten rule for a long time.) I have experienced a requirement of a gift author that she/he add into a completed research without her/his contribution. Untrusted events in Japanese academic are not only the case of research itself.
    After the case about STAP cell in 2014 (4), a global trend that emphasizes scientific reproducibility has occurred after 2015 (5). In Japan, it was obliged to learn the research ethics (6) at Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research before its deadline in autumn. Still, researchers who intentionally or implicitly demand misconduct still exist.
    Most of researchers would do research fairly. However, in o...

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    Competing Interests: None declared.

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