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  1. #11
    The Eighth Colour Octarine's Avatar
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    I posted this thread because I've read such an example this week. I'm not making this up - statistically insignificant results compared to controls are made out as a positive change. The graphs, based on the unadjusted means have overlapping 95% CI with the control, but then they go on to state significant p values for this comparison, without explaining how the data was altered. They also failed to report seven of the measures that were used according to the protocol. Most of those measures that were reported had revised thresholds as to what was significant or "normal".

    This was a very expensive study funded by the respective government.
    Last edited by Octarine; 02-21-2011 at 09:52 AM.

  2. #12
    Glowy Goopy Goodness The_Liquid_Laser's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Architectonic View Post
    Would you be surprised to learn that the above does occur regularly?
    Not in the slightest.

    Quote Originally Posted by Architectonic View Post
    How can the field of science be reformed to become more honest?
    I don't think it can be at this point. Science is too influencial. Power corrupts, and the scientific community now has a lot of power. Ironically the best science was done by people who saw it as something of a leisurely diversion. Once it became known that science could lead to major profits, the integrity of science went out the window.
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  3. #13
    resonance entropie's Avatar
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    Yes it's dishonest. But if you want money for a project and some numbers are just making it look bad, you can change that. You just have to take the responsibility if it goes bad afterwards and you have to think to yourself in the first place, how likely a bad outcome is and if it could damage anyone or anything.

    There are seldom zero risk operations which work like in a fairy world and a bit of gambling is always necessary if you want to reach certain goal, but it should always exclude that human life could be risked or things could be destroyed. l tend to take risks alot but always have 3-4 security nets. That way it becomes safer and since I am a security freak, I think I am doing it right
    [URL]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tEBvftJUwDw&t=0s[/URL]

  4. #14
    Senior Member Jaguar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Architectonic View Post
    Would you be surprised to learn that the above does occur regularly?
    Quite the contrary. I would be surprised if it didn't.

  5. #15
    Senior Member burymecloser's Avatar
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    Clearly dishonest. And yet terribly tempting -- not to falsify data but merely to withhold some or mess around with parameters the way you've described. It's dishonest in a way that can be rationalised, justified to oneself.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jaguar View Post
    Quite the contrary. I would be surprised if it didn't.
    Likewise.
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  6. #16
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    I don't think it's fair to say dishonesty happens in science regularly... at least not the natural sciences like chemistry, physics, mathematics.. it is far more difficult to fake your data in these fields... if I claim that I discovered a new reaction for 3,3 sigmatropic rearrangements and then publish the fudged data it's not a question of if I get busted but when... When someone in another lab or big pharma tries to use my new reaction and they don't get what I claim they should get people will be calling bullshit left and right.. and either I am able to find my original procedure in my lab notebook and reproduce the results exactly and inform them what they are missing from the procedure they are using to get it to work (and they subsequently try my suggestion and get it to work) or I will be without a job in addition to answering all kinds of review committees both at my uni/place of work and within the funding agency...

    It is definitely easier to fudge data in the biological sciences and social sciences but I doubt that dishonesty is rampant in these fields either.. there is a healthy level of competition in science (even in the biological and social sciences) that keeps a lot of this to a minimum... At the end of the day there are dishonest people and these dishonest people will inevitably do dishonest things.... they will of course exploit flaws in the system that allow these types of behaviors and depending on what fields they work in sometimes they get caught and sometimes they don't...

    but these people aren't inhabiting science exclusively and if anything science has better safe guards in place than fields like business, real estate, government, finance, law, politics, entertainment.... I mean you've never seen a scandal of dishonesty in science that comes even close to what the banks did with student loans or real estate....

    Because fields like chemistry, math, computer science, and physics fuel technological advancement for the most part all of your major discoveries in science will be independently verified because if your new drug doesn't treat what it claims it treats or the new algorithm doesn't describe what it is suppose to describe then your data is not reproducible and that tends to invite people to call bullshit on your original claims - and nearly every heavy hitting scientists has his/her share of competitive rivals and those that work in fields and on projects that directly contribute to technological advancement will have bullshit called on their claims by the end users of their technology...

    The reality is there are dishonest people and they gravitate towards all fields - if anything science is better equipped to deal with these people before they do major damage than any other field...
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  7. #17
    The Eighth Colour Octarine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spin-1/2-nuclei View Post
    it is far more difficult to fake your data in these fields...
    Chemistry has its fair share of examples, from plagiarism to crystallography fraud. You have to realise that often research is very specialised and it will often take significant time and resources to prove particular data false. It is very easy for that researcher to say 'you are doing it wrong' than admit issues with the data.

    But my major point wasn't so much about outright fraud, as little lies - cherry picking of data to make it sound more significant is rampant.

  8. #18
    resonance entropie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Architectonic View Post

    But my major point wasn't so much about outright fraud, as little lies - cherry picking of data to make it sound more significant is rampant.
    That's what I meant. You cant really falsify data I wouldnt like that. But you can make data look better by cherry-picking the right things. That is called marketing and you need that in the real business world every day. I dont see what's wrong with that cause after all you want to market your research.
    [URL]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tEBvftJUwDw&t=0s[/URL]

  9. #19
    insert random title here Randomnity's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by entropie View Post
    That's what I meant. You cant really falsify data I wouldnt like that. But you can make data look better by cherry-picking the right things. That is called marketing and you need that in the real business world every day. I dont see what's wrong with that cause after all you want to market your research.
    What kind of impact do you think this will have on the knowledge base in the field in question?

    After all, the point of science is to increase our knowledge, not to market our research. The former usually requires the latter, of course.
    -end of thread-

  10. #20
    resonance entropie's Avatar
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    Yea, but I was thinking like if you have a project and it's yet to be decided whether it's funded or not. Then there is the moment where you have to step in front of the trustees and tell them why they should pay you for your research. In that moment you just tell them the basic facts and the benefits they'll get. The real research that includes boring data you afterwards do with your colleagues, who do understand what you are doing.

    I dont know maybe I am getting the question wrong, I am not saying you should falsify data but it's a truth that many things in life have to be sold in a certain way if you want to reach a spectrum of people with it. the sad thing is all those strange scientific articles who postulate that because we beamed an entangled photon we gonna have human beamers soon. It's sad indeed that you only can reach people sometimes if you use big words and relate everything to startrek. Then again you have to be fair, we are studied natural scientists, we dedicated a huge amount of our lifes to understand those things and we have often a far better imagination what a discovery means that would look to someone foreign to the subject like mumbojumbo.

    Yet it's a shame what articles sometimes claim to be scientific and it's a shame how some data is falsified or not correctly shown to get peoples attention. It would be a task one could set for oneself to market a project in a way it sounds intresting to everyone, yet one doesnt lie or falsify data in the process. I dont know if that will ever be really possible if you consider that most people almost react aggressive if you tell them something from science and they only want to see how it benefits them. I think in that regards scientific thinkers and researchers are still a rare breed
    [URL]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tEBvftJUwDw&t=0s[/URL]

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