Medicine And The Media

More pricks than kicks

BMJ 1996; 313 doi: (Published 21 September 1996) Cite this as: BMJ 1996;313:759
  1. Stephen Lock

    The first intimation that we face a dispiriting two and a half hours at Stephen Poliakoff's new play comes in the programme notes. “Scientific fraud,” David Jones writes, “is impossible to get away with. Once your findings are published, others will…try to repeat them. If they fail, questions will be asked…. So fraud doesn't happen very often….When it does, there is always some surprising or desperate human story behind it.”

    Jones is in academic chemistry, where perhaps fraud is unusual and failure to replicate results has uncovered several cases. Elsewhere fraud is far from rare; in medicine there are well over 100 documented cases, with half a dozen new ones being recorded every quarter in the bulletin of the US Office of Research Integrity alone. These are probably the tip of an iceberg. Most cases come …

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