Reviews Book

The Great Betrayal: Fraud in Science

BMJ 2004; 329 doi: (Published 14 October 2004) Cite this as: BMJ 2004;329:922
  1. Peter Wilmshurst (, consultant cardiologist
  1. Royal Shrewsbury Hospital, Shrewsbury

    The Great Betrayal describes many cases of research fraud. Why is the academic establishment reluctant to admit that fraud is a major problem? Possibly because the most influential academics obtained their seniority from research publications rather than by their teaching or practical skills. To suggest that their positions were attained in a corrupt system reduces their status.

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    Horace Freeland Judson

    Harcourt, $28, pp 480 ISBN 0 15 100877 9

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    As with other forms of clandestine dishonesty we can be certain that for every case of research fraud that is exposed others go undetected. In the cleverest financial or art frauds the victims do not even know they were duped. Ultimately it is the taxpayers who pick up the bill for research fraud and are its victims, but patients suffer directly when medical research is falsified.

    Most cases of research fraud collated by Judson have been described before, but in many cases he has new information from interviews with the people involved. Therein lies a problem. Have people told him the truth—or what they want history to record?

    In the cases where I have direct knowledge there are some inaccuracies. Judson states: “The case of …

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