Tackling fraudulent research: parallels with a virus


It’s generally thought that fraud is rare, and science is self-correcting, but is that true? Sadly, there is increasingly evidence of widespread fraud in science, ranging from individual bad actors who build a glowing reputation on faked or manipulated data, to industrial scale fraud from so-called “paper mills”, who charge for authorship and/or citations. I’ll discuss why it is urgent to tackle these, with various measures comparable to testing for a virus, tracing contact, quarantine and vaccination. I list some red flags that aid paper mill detection, and show how open science practices are important to counteract fakery in science.

Professor Dorothy Bishop, FBA, FMedSci, FRS

University of Oxford

Dorothy Bishop is Emeritus Professor of Developmental Neuropsychology at the University of Oxford and an honorary fellow of St John’s College Oxford. Her main research interests are in the nature and causes of developmental language impairments, with a particular focus on psycholinguistics, neurobiology and genetics. Beyond psychology, she is active in the field of open science and research reproducibility, and in 2015 she chaired a symposium by the Academy of Medical Sciences on ‘Reproducibility and Reliability of Biomedical Research’. She was inaugural chair of the Advisory Board of the UK Reproducibility Network and a founder member of Reproducible Research Oxford, UKRN’s local hub. She is active on social media, with a popular blog, Bishopblog, and she tweets as @deevybee.

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