High Impact Factors: Retractions On The Rise by Cook & Bynum
We recently shared an article where the author took academic journals and pop science media outlets for a ride. Of course, the journals are not the only ones responding with poor behavior to the underlying economic incentives. Academics have long issued fraudulent and/or inaccurate studies in an effort to get published and to burnish their reputations (and get tenure), although thankfully it appears that they are now getting caught more often.
This psychologist, Diederik Stapel, might have been an extreme case, but he was by no means alone in using questionable research practices. There are Stapels in other fields too, prominent scientists who were unmasked as data fabricators or falsifiers: like South Korean stem-cell researcher Hwang Woo Suk, or Harvard evolutionary biologist, Marc Hauser. And research suggests that these extreme cases are symptomatic of widespread questionable research practices in science at large, as Yudhijit Bhattacharjee wrote in a profile of Stapel in the New York Times: