By Elizabeth Lopatto
June 18 (Bloomberg) — About 1,000 potential incidents of fabrication, falsification or plagiarism in scientific research go unreported every year, according to a survey that suggests such misconduct is far more prevalent than suspected.
On average, the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Research Integrity receives only 24 reports of suspected misconduct from academic and other research institutions yearly, according to a report in the journal Nature. The authors called for scientists and institutions to implement more safeguards against research fraud.
Rooting out fraud in scientific research has gained increased attention since 2006 when Seoul National University investigators confirmed that one of their scientists, Hwang Wook Suk, faked studies of human embryonic stem cells. Most of the potential misconduct identified in the survey was fabrication or falsification, such as altering research data, which accounted for 60 percent of the reported incidents.