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IPFS News Link • Science, Medicine and Technology

Science Has a Major Fraud Problem. Here's Why Government Funding Is the Likely Culprit

• https://fee.org, Ulyana Kubini

President Biden's 2024 budget includes over $210 billion directed toward federal research and development, an approximately $9 billion increase from 2023 funding. That might not sound particularly bad—after all, who doesn't like science and innovation?

But, although seemingly noble, the billions pumped into the US government's National Science Foundation don't always translate into finding cures for debilitating diseases, or developing groundbreaking technologies.

In recent years, although technology and peer-review techniques have become more widespread, fraud has remained a consistent issue. The problem has gotten so out of hand that world-class researchers and medical ethics analysts believe the public should be aware of the widespread inaccuracies plaguing medicine.

Dr. Richard Smith, the former editor-in-chief of the BMJ and cofounder of the Committee on Medical Ethics (COPE), details,

Health professionals and journal editors reading the results of a clinical trial assume that the trial happened and that the results were honestly reported. But about 20% of the time, said Ben Mol, professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Monash Health, they would be wrong. As I've been concerned about research fraud for 40 years, I wasn't as surprised as many would be by this figure, but it led me to think that the time may have come to stop assuming that research actually happened and is honestly reported, and assume that the research is fraudulent until there is some evidence to support it having happened and been honestly reported.

Independent analysis done by J. B. Carlisle confirms Dr. Smith's suspicions. As Carlisle analyzed dozens of government-funded control trials, he found a staggering 44% contained false data. These findings are swept under the rug by most mainstream news outlets, which is a problem in itself. If government-funded research produces such sloppy results, the taxpayers funding it at least deserve to know the outcomes of the experiments they paid for.


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