“Every day, on average, a scientific paper is retracted because of misconduct,” Ivan Oransky and Adam Marcus, who run Retraction Watch, wrote in a New York Times op-ed in May.
” Two percent of scientists admit to tinkering with their data in some kind of improper way. That number might appear small, but remember: Researchers publish some 2 million articles a year, often with taxpayer funding. In each of the last few years, the Office of Research Integrity, part of the United States Department of Health and Human Services, has sanctioned a dozen or so scientists for misconduct ranging from plagiarism to fabrication of results. Not surprisingly, the problem appears to get worse as the stakes get higher.”
Science – as conventionally understood as an interplay between experimentation and theorizing – is absolutely the best way to understand and conquer the world. But there are those who cheat.
And yes, it is not at all surprising that as the stakes get higher the problem gets worse. This is true of all systems – the larger they become the larger their associated problems become.
Seek to curtail large systems whenever possible. How would that work in this case? One thought would be to curtail government funding of research.