One-quarter of Physicians Say Medical Research is “Sick”

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In a survey of 315 medical scientists in the Netherlands, 15% “admitted to recently fabricating or falsifying research data,” while more than 25% “admitted to deleting negative data or results” that did not confirm their beliefs, according to a study presented at the 27th European College of Neuropsychopharmacology Congress and reported in Medscape Medical News. And a majority of physicians thought the current climate surrounding medical publishing is undermining “the credibility and validity of medical science.”

Physician Joeri K. Tijdink of the Free University Medical Center in Amsterdam led the study, which also found that many scientists blamed many of these problems on increasing pressure to publish in order to further their careers.

“Results showed that 15% of the participants self-reported that they had fabricated, falsified, plagiarized, or manipulated data in the past 3 years,” reported Medscape. “A total of 25% said they had at some time ‘deleted data or results in order to confirm a hypothesis (data cooking/massaging),’ and 70% admitted to assigning authorship to individuals who did not contribute to the study. In addition, 72% rated publication pressure as ‘too high,’ and 61% said that this type of pressure has negative effects on the credibility and validity of medical science.”

Tijdink called the findings “disturbing” and told Medscape that they “have garnered quite a bit of attention” in the Netherlands.

“More than half of a group of professors say the reliability and validity of scientific results are not trustworthy, and 25% say that medical science is sick,” Tijdink told Medscape.

Medscape sought comment from David Kupfer of the Pittsburgh School of Medicine, who also recently chaired the task force designing the most recent edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Kupfer said the feelings of publication pressure felt in Europe were “not inconsistent with the way things operate in North America.” However, Kupfer felt that practices have improved in recent years, even though “there are always going to be a few bad apples.”

“Faculty are paying more attention to younger faculty. And maybe the emphasis on career mentoring and working in groups and looking at data collectively, and less Lone Ranger activity, may in fact reduce some of this data manipulation,” said Kupfer. “I think people are paying much more attention to the data that are being analyzed.” Kupfer admitted to Medscape that he “does not have research to support his viewpoint.”

(Registration) Pressure to Publish Leading to Scientific Misconduct (Medscape Medical News, November 3, 2014)

9 COMMENTS

  1. Medical research has been sick from day 1 all the way back to when Louis Pasteur first looked through a microscope and misinterpreted what he saw. The truth discovered by contemporary Royal Rife his microscope smashed with sledge hammers and laboratory burned by founders of the AMA . His fellow scientist Antoine BeCamp also virtually taken out of history in a cover up thats certainly has cost hundreds of millions of lives and unmeasurable suffering to this day . You don’t believe it ? Check out the real scientific truth that was covered up for the sake of profit . Read Robert Young’s book for a clear exposition and proof “Sick And Tired”. Needless to say it”s a must read. Gives new meaning to “anything for a buck”.

  2. Not at all surprised. This doesn’t even consider researchers and funders of research that cannot discern between their own personal agenda from that of the community which they allegedly serve; or those who simply lie about their agenda, that’s all too common.

    Personally, I have never considered academic research as being indicative of free and independent, revolutionary thinking. If that were the case, we wouldn’t be so dependent on the experience of others to know our own personal truth. Nor would we need to prove anything to anyone. We’d just know our truth and apply it to our lives, intuitively.

    When we retrieve our abilities to know ourselves and our capabilities without needing proof or ‘permission’ from the experience of others, but simply from our own experience of living; and, as well, when we have released the need to prove anything to anyone, we have achieved personal freedom.

    • Sorry, punctuation in last sentence is wrong and confusing, should read:

      “When we retrieve our abilities to know ourselves and our capabilities without needing proof or ‘permission’ from the experience of others, but simply from our own experience of living–and, as well, when we have released the need to prove anything to anyone–we have achieved personal freedom.”

  3. Kupfer’s comments are appalling. A quarter of all researchers report intentionally falsifying their results. That’s more than “a few bad apples!” But of course, I expect no more from the chair of the DSM-5 task force, as he presided over a veritable carnival of intentional falsification and lies.

    —- Steve

  4. “In a survey of 315 medical scientists in the Netherlands, 15% “admitted to recently fabricating or falsifying research data,” while more than 25% “admitted to deleting negative data or results””
    These are insane numbers…