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Saturday, April 28, 2007

"hoaxing, forging, trimming and cooking"

These are several ways of misusing data in science according to Charles Babbage, as mentioned in the following article.

"Deception and dishonesty with data:fraud in science" by David Hand
Significance, March 2007, pages 22-25

The part of this article I like most is the part where the author discussed that, despite the idealized image of scientists in the minds of the public, scientists are just human who are under pressure to be productive and to compete in order to survive the academic world. The author also observed that scientific fraud differed from other frauds such as banking frauds in that the perpetrators didn't set out to be dishonest at the beginning. It is also true that some accusation of fraud in science is arguable, especially in the gray area of "trimming" unreliable data.