Fraud Busting Bonanza
This week has been a can of worms as stories of fraud, misconduct and general bad deeds have rocked the science community. Papers on stem cells, semiconductors, cognitive psychology have all been retracted in some of the highest profile journals around. Two cases caught my eye for their audacity.
First, Michael LaCour, a UCLA grad student published a study in Science saying views on same sex marriage could be changed with a bit of preinterview information. Not only was there no data collected, but large ethical lapses were found between him and his mentor who had apparently never asked to look at the data prior to publication. Those who chose to dig deeper quickly found that the Science fraud was just the tip of the LaCour creative suite. He also made up grants and awards, and in almost hilarious slip up, was caught changing his online CV by a reporter who found these fabricated awards. “Uhhh…..CV? What CV are you talking about” doesn’t really work when the reporter is capturing every change in your profile.
Another contestant for most baffling bit of fraud is the team of Raphael Pinaud and Liisa Tremere. Hopping from Oregon, Duke, Rochester and Oklahoma they garnered publications in high profile society journals and Nature Neuroscience. Dr Pinaud was even given an endowed chair. Their studies of song bird learning were published in >30 peer reviewed papers and yesterday one from J Neuroscience was retracted. More shoes will surely fall on this couple as every single university they have been associated with scrubs them from their University servers.