After reading the "All Meaning Above" collection, I will no longer subconsciously assume that colleagues are skeptical

I am ashamed of the way my university handled the whistleblower case in Leiden

Ionica Smiths

What three elements do many examples of scientific misconduct have in common? It might be an exam question for the course of being a scientist that I’m currently teaching in which we also discuss all the things that don’t go well in science. Possible good answers are: reviewers do not extract manipulations, original measurement data cannot be found when asked, perpetrators are often very successful, whistleblowers are usually young scientists who risk their careers by raising abuses, misconduct detection systems corrections Slow and bureaucratic, penalties for violators are generally lenient, and institutions tend to protect well-known scholars.

One of the frustrating aspects of this lecture is that as a teacher you can choose from many existing examples each year. This year, for example, we can name the three psychologists from Leiden who reported fraud by their counsellor and the operation was discontinued two years later. de Volkskrant He summed it up in the words: “The scientific community doesn’t seem to care about the situation.” I’m ashamed of the way my university has handled this and I seem to be primarily interested in keeping things as small as possible.

There is a danger that when our science students hear about this case, they will think that this kind of misery primarily affects psychology. That’s why I’m also discussing the Delft Majorana issue this year: physicists claim to have discovered a special particle, bringing a special quantum computer within reach.

More than two years ago, two young researchers discovered that there was something wrong with how they analyze the data. Here too, it is very difficult to admit that the committees work slowly, looking only at part of the problem or the whistleblower’s request declares unacceptable† The Interim Result is that one scientific paper has been withdrawn, a second journal article warns that there may be problems with the data analytics, and there are a handful of other papers that whistleblowers say the analyzes are not. the hook.

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Someone on Twitter asked why these whistleblowers were so obsessed with all of this, claiming that “science and truth will find their way through due process.” It wasn’t on his Twitter profile, but this concerned citizen was the Director of Marketing and Communications at TU Delft.

We see in the literature that Self-cleaning system for science legend He is. The only reason the two cases mentioned here appear and (hopefully) get corrected is because the whistleblowers keep fighting so persistently for the truth.

Universities should better invest the energy they put in protecting their image in improving systems to ensure that the truth really comes out. This benefits not only their image, but the whole science.

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