Norwegian researcher admits that his data were fakedBMJ 2006; 332 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.332.7535.193-a (Published 26 January 2006) Cite this as: BMJ 2006;332:193
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Once upon a time research used to be an attractive and systematic
adventure worthy to be lived. Afterwards, investigation became a
professional activity with increasing requirements in line with intellectual honesty, ethical behavior, the needed creativeness and
the originality demanded.
However, bureaucracy progressively gained space into it and the standards
was risen to such a level that researchers were forced to fulfill higher
and higher demands for their periodic evaluations, for obtaining grants,
for maintaining an acceptable competency and so on.
This implied the existence of stressing components apt to put into risk
the permanence of consolidated research groups. Moreover, concepts as
efficacy, efficiency, productivity, merit, good management and
administration were enhanced. The overwhelming relevance to quantitative
and measurable patterns over the qualitative ones, the priority given to
the immediately applicable results, the misevaluation of basic sciences,
the importance acquired by the molecular aspects of human beings in
replacement of its integral analysis (molecularization), the postmodern
separation of science from ethics and the preeminence of technology over
science (technoscience) were put into evidence as some of the questionable
features of a bigger iceberg.
In accordance with Sonia Araujo (2004), the multiplicity of papers
extracted from a same investigation and the reciprocal cites among the
members of a same group of investigation were promoted and admitted.
Strategies and tactics for survival and progress, far from ethics, were
developed. Thus, the simulate and deliberate curricular hypertrophy, the
self and non-self plagiarism, the title and recommendation accumulations,
the invention of data for reaching a higher hierarchy became
characteristics of a new ethos into the scientific field.
To sum up, the reprehensible behaviour of the Norwegian researcher
admitting that his data were faked, as recently occurred with Hwang Woo
Suk of Seoul National University, led us to ask if these facts are not a
consequence and a perceptible proof of a real sickness. This illness is
called by us: epistemopathy and we guess that the neoliberalism, ruled by
the market and dominating the political power, may play a determinant
and/or a coadjutant role in its etiology and preservation.-
Sonia Araujo: Universidad, investigación e incentivos. La cara
oscura, Buenos Aires: Ediciones Al margen (Núcleo de Estudios
Educacionales y Sociales –NEES-), 2004
Competing interests: No competing interests