Scientific misconduct has been defined as fabrication, falsification, and plagiarism. Scientific misconduct has occurred throughout the history of science. The US government began to take systematic interest in such misconduct in the 1980s. Since then, a number of studies have examined how frequently individual scientists have observed scientific misconduct or were involved in it. Although the studies vary considerably in their methodology and in the nature and size of their samples, in most studies at least 10% of the scientists sampled reported having observed scientific misconduct. In addition to studies of the incidence of scientific misconduct, this review considers the recent increase in paper retractions, the role of social media in scientific ethics, several instructional examples of egregious scientific misconduct, and potential methods to reduce research misconduct.


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