I’ve pretty much ignored all the academic fraud cases lately since I don’t know what good can come from getting upset/annoyed/whatever about asshole scientists who screw it up for the rest of us. But lately I haven’t been able to ignore them anymore – they are really starting to affect both my day to day life as well as how I read actual science.
Day to Day:
At Illinois we had a married couple who while perhaps not committing academic fraud (although that has been questioned) were committing actual monetary fraud by essentially double charging their respective grants for things like travel expenses and walking away with something like 100k+ (at least that’s what I heard). Now people are required to jump through a ridiculous number of hoops to even go to a conference. Things signed by 3 different offices, photocopies of your left pinky toe, boarding passes, abstracts, copies of the conference program with your name on it somewhere, only allowed to stay at an official conference hotel, etc, etc, etc, etc…. What a pain in the ass! and anyway…If I really wanted to fake all these things it wouldn’t be very difficult – jeez.
Even since the cold fusion bit and all the stem cell fraud I can’t even take stories like this seriously anymore:
Scientists from Université Laval’s Faculty of Medicine have succeeded in producing neurons in vitro using stem cells extracted from adult human skin. This is the first time such an advanced state of nerve cell differentiation has been achieved from human skin, according to lead researcher Professor François Berthod. This breakthrough could eventually lead to revolutionary advances in the treatment of neurodegenerative illnesses such as Parkinson’s disease. Berthod and his team described the method used to produce these neurons in a recent issue of the Journal of Cellular Physiology.
This is almost certainly completely legitimate – but I’m sure you understand what I’m talking about. Ohh well – enough whining for this morning.