Day By Day

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Faking It -- Science at MIT

The corruption of the scientific enterprise continues.

New Scientist reports:
A high-flying researcher has been fired from the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston for fabricating data. A New Scientist investigation can, however, reveal that serious doubts are also being expressed over the accuracy of data published by the same researcher much earlier in his career.

Luk Van Parijs, 35, was an associate professor of biology at MIT. On Wednesday, he was sacked by the institute after admitting to fabricating and falsifying research data in a published scientific paper and several manuscripts and grant applications.

MIT will not confirm which paper contains the faked data, but over the past 8 years, Van Parijs has co-authored 40 research papers, and was considered a rising star in the fields of immunology and RNA interference, a technology with promise for finding new genes and treating genetic disease.

Read it here.

Note he is an associate professor which means that he came up for tenure review and passed, and that he has published 40 papers that were subject to peer review.

The credibility of the entire scientific enterprise depends on the trustworthiness of its practitioners. Rampant careerism and ideological/political bias have resulted in widespread corruption and rendered the judgment of scientific authorities suspect. The problem permeates all levels of the enterprise, and as the public becomes aware of it, scientific authority itself will suffer.

Previous posts on this subject here, here, here, here, and especially here.

And also note this.

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