Consequences of Fraud in Peer Reviews
By Russ Warner, VP Marketing & Operations –
As we interact with and learn from scientists, teachers, mentors, friends and family, each of us adopts ideologies we’ve been taught and experienced as well as assimilated over the course of our life. Without other frames of reference, we hold on to our understanding of concepts based on learning and personal experience. Sometimes we apply our notions to concepts misguided by the receipt of incorrect information from others, the media or the Internet.
Learning based on scientific research has been key throughout history to increasing our understanding and accelerating advancement. However, if fraudulent research is positioned as truth, this can result in vast negative consequences.
Andrew Wakefield’s scientific study, published in the late 1990s, claimed that childhood vaccines cause autism in children. As a result, thousands of parents went up against the medical industry to avoid vaccines without conducting any research or determining if there were alternatives. During the months and years that followed, there was an increase in specific childhood illnesses.
Wakefield’s research has since been retracted and other studies have disproved his original claims, but the damage is done. In short, corrupt scientific claims are of great concern.
Recent Peer Review Fraud
Peer reviewing is one way of combatting corrupt scientific claims. If a scientist wants to publish research, it must be peer-reviewed by other experts first. However, even this method is not entirely safe.
SAGE publishing, which hosts many journals that are peer-reviewed, retracted as many as 60 scientific papers due to fraud in peer-reviewing. The SAGE publishing issue concerned a researcher by the name of Peter Chen, who may have had accomplices to help him create as many as 130 false accounts and control who was reviewing the research. Due to these discoveries, Chen has since resigned from the National Pingtung University of Education.
What can be done about fraud?
With this in mind, how do we handle such corruption? It does not seem ethical to subject all peer-reviewing professors to intense scrutiny and interrogation, but still, we need a way to weed out deceivers who would influence scientific or public opinion so profoundly with false information.
EyeDetect™ may be a solution to this potential problem. The ongoing administration of those publishing vital research could quickly and in a non-intrusive way filter out those involved in fraud If we allow “unbiased” technology to assist, we can more easily allow scientific truth to flourish.
Note: Opinions expressed by Russ Warner are his own.