The Perfect Scientific Crime?

By Neuroskeptic | July 14, 2015 1:10 pm

Science fraud has been in the news again lately, and it got me thinking about whether it would be possible to fake data with no chance of getting caught. Would it be possible to carry out the perfect scientific crime? How can we help make life more difficult for fraudsters?

dodgy_statistics1

Here’s how fraudsters seem to get caught. There is usually a two stage process. Firstly, someone notices something suspicious about the published results. In the case of numerical results, the suspicious thing is often that the data are too ‘neat’ or ‘too good to be true’ – this was what caught Stapel (Edit: but see comments), Smeesters, and others. Uri Simonsohn has exposed several frauds in this way. Other times, the data are shown to be copied from another source, as in LaCour.

Data that take the form of images (blots) have their own set of ‘tells’, namely duplication and splicing of parts of the image. PubPeer is full of literally hundreds of these accusations.

Suspicions about data are the first stage of a fraudster’s downfall, but there’s a second phase: suspicions that the data collection could not have happened as described. For instance LaCour claimed that his data came from a survey firm, but they denied any knowledge of his study.

This is the pattern: suspicious data leads to investigation of the source of the data.

I’m not aware of any example in which fraud was discovered by an outside party, purely through investigation of the source of the data, without concerns first being raised about the data itself. I can’t see how that would happen. There are no routine audits in science. No-one digs into studies at random.

So this leads me to the following, rather disturbing conclusion: the perfect scientific fraud would simply consist in making up data which was convincing and unexceptional enough not to attract suspicions. You wouldn’t need to forge a paper trail to explain where the data came from. So long as the data are sensible, no-one will ever ask.

It’s said that many eyes will spot any bug. In science, there are many eyes on the published data, but not on the production of data. Scientists only care ‘how the sausages are made’ when the sausages look funny.

There is only one problem with making up a study out of nowhere – your colleagues. To publish a single-author study would, in most scientific fields, be very unusual, and might attract the kind of attention that a fraudster would not want. So the perfect fraud would need coauthors. But this raises problems of its own.

An almost undetectable fraud would be to conduct a real experiment, and involve other people in it, but to control data management yourself, and substitute convincing fake or edited data for the real measurements. This is apparently what Marc Hauser did, and notably, Hauser was caught out because a whistle-blower within his own lab could compare the raw and the published data. I don’t think an outsider would have had a chance of catching him. His data were not suspicious.

This post is not my practical advice for fraudsters. Rather, I am trying to suggest fraud-prevention tips. First, coauthors are the people best placed to detect fraud. In fact, in many cases, they are the only people who have a realistic chance of catching a skilled fraudster. Therefore, we should remember that in putting our names to a paper, we are endorsing its probity.

Secondly, given that published data start most fraud investigations, I’d suggest that requiring authors to publish the raw data alongside the summary results would be very helpful, because it is generally harder to fake raw data than statistical summaries of data. At the very least it gives fraudsters more chances to slip up. As Simonsohn said, Just Post It.

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  • D Samuel Schwarzkopf

    Stapel was not only discovered because the “data looked too good” but in the first instance because junior colleagues (students I think) began questioning his working practices. He tended to “collect data” himself even as a senior lab head without any witnesses. He would then give these “raw data” to the lead authors on the studies. This should have sent off warn bells ringing early on – which maybe it did but it is hard to speak up against a powerful senior.

    • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/neuroskeptic/ Neuroskeptic

      Ah, actually that’s right. Stapel was initially suspected by insiders. Insiders (coauthors) are the weak link in the fraudster’s armor.

      • Nick

        >>Insiders (coauthors) are the weak link
        >>in the fraudster’s armor.
        Not necessarily. If the fraudster is sufficiently senior, then some combination of fear/awe on the one hand, and/or not wanting to bite the hand that feeds you on the other, can prevent most lower-level people from asking questions. Compare whistleblowing situations outside academia. Indeed, this whole problem is not really about academic publishing; it’s a more fundamental one of human behaviour. If only we had a reliable, cumulative science that studied that subject.

        • D Samuel Schwarzkopf

          Yes and in fact it sounds to me that in Stapel’s case this is actually why it took so long to come out.

          • Nick

            The Levelt commission seemed to set out to show that it was primarily due to fear, but I don’t think they found very many witnesses for that.

            On the other hand, there were plenty of grad students who didn’t ask too many questions when their supervisor apparently went out in all weathers to do the field work, and presented them with a CD containing “Gold” in the form of the dataset. Seems like it was more about the hand that feeds.

            (People are often very quick to defend “poor innocent grad students”, but I would hope for a certain level of skepticism among people who are /a/ adults, /b/ some of the smartest individuals in the country, and /c/ training to become the scientists of tomorrow.)

          • D Samuel Schwarzkopf

            Yeah naivety probably played a big role. Although I don’t know how long that could last. Surely they must have been talking to students from other labs whose supervisors didn’t collect their data for them. This should make you wonder if this is normal…

          • http://sites.google.com/site/todorovicana/ Ana Todorovic

            One of the problems in the Stapel case was that the person in charge of ethics issues – the person the grad students were supposed to talk to in case of suspicions – was the Rector Magnificus. Someone students don’t exactly feel at ease about approaching based on a hunch.

  • Buddy199

    You would think that people familiar with statistical analysis would realize that “neat” data is anomalous and would try to dirty it up a bit to be less suspicious. On second thought, the people who never got caught did realize that.

  • Alina Lartseva

    Or you could collect real data, assign condition labels/group membership randomly, analyze, repeat steps 2 and 3 until desired statistical significance is achieved. Of course, it still relies on the technical possibility to delete the original log file and replace it with false one. To prevent it one would need a data acquisition system where the raw data cannot be edited or deleted, only copied.

    Although in neuroimaging there can be so many steps between the raw data and the results that if I can’t reproduce someone’s results I will suspect that my analysis is wrong before suspecting someone of fraud. No, wait, you can of course share preprocessing/analysis scripts along with raw data, that would solve it.

    • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/neuroskeptic/ Neuroskeptic

      “Or you could collect real data, assign condition labels/group membership randomly, analyze, repeat steps 2 and 3 until desired statistical significance is achieved”

      That’s… absolutely brilliant. In a devious way. Would that be undetectable? Has it ever been used?

      • D Samuel Schwarzkopf

        That depends on what the data are exactly. You couldn’t very easily do this with raw fMRI time series as I think that would be detectable as it breaks temporal dependencies between volumes. Mind you, someone would have to dig fairly deep to spot it.

        Of course, with more processed data would become easier.

        In a way this is approach isn’t far of what a friend of me told me happened in a lab they once worked in (I don’t know where exactly). Apparently there the whole lab was running permutation tests to exclude the subjects that would yield the most significant results. My friend didn’t know if the lab PI knew about this behaviour…

        • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/neuroskeptic/ Neuroskeptic

          It would depend on the question being asked.

          If you wanted to find a group difference between two groups of patients, or pre/post a treatment, you could just find a group/treatment assignment matrix that gave an effect. You wouldn’t need to scramble the actual data.

          If you wanted to fake a neural activation in a given brain area, within one group, that would be more difficult, as you say.

          But not impossible. If all else failed you could add the activation directly into the image files in Matlab.

  • Nick

    In some cases, Stapel re-used entire datasets from one study to the next, re-purposing columns of figures for different variables, because he knew that they would give him the significant t tests (or whatever) that he wanted. The numbers were *exactly the same*, in order, from one made-up study to the next. But it’s quite likely that the “mother” datasets were real.

    It would not have been difficult for him to open up Excel and add a small random variation to the numbers. Even with Likert scale data, you could add 1 to 25%, subtract 1 from 25%, and leave the rest unchanged, and you would have nothing that could be provably used against you (especially given that standards of proof in data fraud investigations seem to be higher than those for death penalty cases; Stapel’s biggest mistake, of course, was to confess).

    I actually asked Stapel why he didn’t do this, and he said, “Because I’m not very good with computers”. That raises the question of how many people who know what they’re doing are getting away with fraud successfully.

    One reason Stapel didn’t get caught for so long, compared to LaCour (and of course there are other reasons, like seniority) was that, as he said himself, he didn’t try to show that the earth was flat; as far as I know, his results were considerably less astonishing than LaCour’s. So there’s probably a sweet spot of fraudulent ambition, where your research tells people (notably the media) what they want to hear, with just a little bit of gee-whiz factor, but not so much that people get too curious. If I were looking to uncover fraud, I’d be looking at people with a long history of research like that. Unfortunately, that typically means a very large percentage of the “leading” people in any field, because it’s also how we measure “leading”.

    • D Samuel Schwarzkopf

      That really is disturbing. It’s actually surprising that fraudsters like this didn’t think of that. If I remember correctlhy, Jan Hendrik Schoen was also found out because he simply copied the noise from one experiment to the next. This seems to be like such a sloppy mistake to make if you go through the trouble of faking your data.

      Or take the Foerster super-linearity business. While there have been no confessions or explanations, if we assume that he or someone else faked these, how hard would it have been to add a bit of Gaussian error to them?

      • Alina Lartseva

        That’s what I also thought. With a bit of programming skills it is very easy to create a convincing dataset that doesn’t stand out too much, so it’s likely that someone has already done it, and we have no way to spot them.

  • http://www.mazepath.com/uncleal/qz4.htm Uncle Al

    If all the detectably false papers in psychology were expunged, what would remain? Freud began by extolling the virtues of cocaine, then the vices of Victorian middle-aged women. If van Gogh was nutso based upon his paintings, then what of Jung and The Red Book (Liber Novus)?

    Pull up a picture of Hermann Rorschach. WHOA! Hey lady (or baroque sexual explorer) – that’ll cure what ails ya.

    • Nick

      I think the point is that academic psychology is meant to have moved on since Freud and Jung, who arguably wouldn’t meet today’s requirements for psychology grad school anyway.

      That’s not to say, though, that there isn’t a great deal of garbage being published in psychology. I wonder if it’s that much higher than in many other fields, though. Much of science seems to be as much about keeping the grant/jobs machine going as it is about advancing human knowledge in a useful way.

      • samton909

        As evidence, watch for the purely politically based “studies” that will be published in the run up to the IPCC meeting in Paris, in which we will be told that the earth is falling apart at the seams, and climate change will destroy the earth in a few years. In variably, these “results” will be quietly abandoned after their news value is over with.

      • Hominid

        The priority of all enterprises is to perpetuate themselves.

    • http://gabriel-laddel.github.io Gabriel Laddel

      “I will kiss you quite red and feed you till you are plump. And if you are froward, you shall see who is the stronger, a gentle little girl who doesn’t eat enough or a big wild man who has cocaine in his body.”

      At least Freud was entertaining.

      On an unrelated note, eot-wash group has shifted all of their publication links to a new URL scheme, making reading e.g., your comments on http://fqxi.org/community/forum/topic/467 (+qz4.html) a PITA. Compare,

      Old URL scheme: http://www.npl.washington.edu/eotwash/publications/pdf/lowfrontier2.pdf
      New URL scheme: http://www.npl.washington.edu/eotwash/sites/www.npl.washington.edu.eotwash/files/webfiles/publications/pdfs/lowfrontier2.pdf

      I suggest you archive all citations for PURSUING THE LIMITS OF FAILED SYMMETRY.

    • Hominid

      None of that is science.

  • Tim

    I agree with some of the other comments that simply tweaking actual data would probably be the easiest to get away with. Colleagues will know that an actual experiment was run and actual data was collected. If you either collect the data yourself or have data collected by _multiple_ others than it will become almost impossible to trace data tweaking. The ‘best’ thing is you will not have to change any of the measured data but only redistribute participants across conditions to get the desired effect.

    But all this pales in comparison with the actual perfect scientific crime: make up data for a pre-registered, open access replication study showing only null-findings. And don’t forget to use Bayesian stats – nobody suspects Bayesian statisticians. It’ll probably help a lot if you have a blog about fraud in science.

    • Nick

      Nobody suspects Bayesian statisticians because none of them are superstars (not least because they always seem to be skeptical about most effects, probably rightly). And as Jason Mitchell so elegantly demonstrated (in his now sadly-deleted essay), replications are worthless anyway. So this crime might be “perfect” in that nobody would ever detect it, but in terms of reward it would be like finding the perfect way to steal a pack of chewing gum.

    • D Samuel Schwarzkopf

      I think you’re right. Faking a perfect non-replication and supporting it with Bayesian statistics should be pretty easy to do… 😛

  • samton909

    Get real. Journal after journal publishes less than believable results, and most peer reviewers simply let it pass, because those doing the peer review don’t much care about really reviewing things. There is no serious peer review in many cases, only the appearance of peer review.

    • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/neuroskeptic/ Neuroskeptic

      That’s another question though. I’m talking about whether a fraud could get away with it over the long run – not just whether they could fool the peer reviewers.

      It’s easy to fool a peer reviewer, not as easy to fool PubPeer.

  • James Booth

    Climate science and the hockey stick, that’s how it’s done people

    • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/neuroskeptic/ Neuroskeptic

      You could try coming up with your own opinions you know, thinking for yourself.

      • James Booth

        You mean beside the thousands of articles and several books on the subject? Not to mention every single IPCC report, and not just the summary for policy makers?

        • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/neuroskeptic/ Neuroskeptic

          Reading is easy, thinking is the problem.

          • James Booth

            Agreed. Most people don’t even delve into the question past what algore spews through their TV set

          • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/neuroskeptic/ Neuroskeptic

            The obsession with Al Gore is a case in point. He’s just one man. It’s easier for the brain to think about a man than about scientific issues, hence, you talk about Al Gore. If you were thinking you wouldn’t.

          • James Booth

            No, the thinking came after my questioning the award winning documentary, “An Inconvenient Truth” by Nobel Peace Prize winning Al Gore. While only one person, one very influential person on energy policy around the world.

          • Scott

            Gore’s film was banned in British school due to it’s outright fraud. AGW is an easily proven lie.

      • Hominid

        How do you know he hasn’t?

  • Bee

    Which leads to the rather disturbing conclusion that there are probably numerous published studies which are fabricated, but nobody knows, and nobody cares.

    • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/neuroskeptic/ Neuroskeptic

      Well, we would care if only we knew!

      • Alan_McIntire

        The whole idea of science is that there is no “authority” to appeal to. There are rules of science which you can figure out for yourself by observation and deduction. If there are numerous “fraudulent” studies,, someone doing an “honest” study would presumably find differing results.

        The possibility that there are numerous published fabricated studies that nobody knows or cares about implies that those “studies” were so uninteresting or insignificant that nobody cares to do a followup experiment which would confirm or rebut the results of the prior study.

        • Bee

          Right. But there’s still research money spent on it. That’s the thing. As long as you fly below the radar, I suppose nobody would ever notice. Just invent yourself a totally obscure niche. Academia is full with that.

          • aglade

            Maybe in the social sciences? I’m not sure there are obscure niches in biology. Additionally, scientists are suspicious when all the data about a given phenomenon come from one lab.

      • Bee

        Well, I meant, nobody cares about most studies – as you said. I work in theoretical physics. In some sense it’s even worse there. You can make up whatever you want and if it gets published and it’s shown to be wrong, you can say, “well, I was dumb,” rather than “I deliberately fabricated a theory because I wanted it to look nice,” though that would be a good summary of most papers. And nobody writes errata anymore. Well, almost nobody. I know dozens of examples of published studies full with claims that are demonstrably wrong, but nobody gives a shit. People deal with it by ignorance.

        • http://www.mazepath.com/uncleal/qz4.htm Uncle Al

          Bench top experiments in existing apparatus can falsify whole categories of defective theory. Grant funding is a business plan never risking an experiment against theory. Hew to the meme!

          To criticize is to volunteer, thus two assaults on where theory fails. Somebody should look.
          DOI: 10.5281/zenodo.15107
          DOI: 10.5281/zenodo.15439
          [ The 4,7,11-trioxa derivative (Raman) is better,
          DOI: 10.1080/00268976.2013.793888
          DOI: 10.1002/ejoc.200600019
          DOI: 10.1021/jo962267f ]

        • https://www.youtube.com/user/AmoralAtheistChannel/videos Amoral Atheist

          I would really like to learn more about this. I am a phd-student in neuroscience and I often get the impression that in physics “everything is better”. E.g. they replicate their stuff, they care about precision, etc. I’ve always wondered to what extend that is actually true, as I obviously don’t know much about physics (as a science). I’ve also heared (but to a far lesser extend than physics being praysed) that in theoretical physics you can make up anything bc there is no way of testing it. Is that true? Sorry if that sounds ignorant, as I said, I don’t know much about it.

  • Just call me Joe

    Sounds like he is talking about Michael Mann.

  • FreedomFan

    Where is all the talk about Global Warming? Remember when that was a looming ‘catastrophe’? The World’s Biggest Hoax just faded away.

  • Larry Evans

    Kinda like Climate Science.

    Made up data (Proxies), “adjusted” data, computer “models” instead of real data.

    BTW, Climate “Scientists” have a habit of losing, throwing out raw data because they apparently don’t know about DVDs and other high capacity storage media.

    • http://www.mazepath.com/uncleal/qz4.htm Uncle Al

      A decade of the Carbon Tax on Everything plus Carbon Credit arbitrage have definitively flattened the upward growth of carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere. This graph proves it beyond all doubt. If you do not see success, you are a denier.

      http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/webdata/ccgg/trends/co2_data_mlo.png

      • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/neuroskeptic/ Neuroskeptic

        Carbon tax? That’s a political question. As a scientist I care about whether CO2 causes a temperature rise.

        The fact that your graph is remarkably reminescent of the graph of world temperatures, is rather telling.

        • http://www.mazepath.com/uncleal/qz4.htm Uncle Al

          Enviro-whinerism’s $trillion/year thefts have made no difference in annual CO2 atmospheric concentration change. None. Maybe if it were a $quadrillion/year “sacrifice”… The published average global temperature changes in definition every time its increase is debunked as defective method or cherry-picked data.

          http://news.sciencemag.org/sifter/2015/07/is-there-a-mini-ice-age-on-the-horizon

        • Jed

          The problem I see here is that the posted graph of CO2 increase since 1960 does not accurately track observed temperature data over the past two decades. Moreover, it does not address the question of the sources of that increase. To assume that human activity alone is responsible for the increase is highly suspect.

          While I agree that a carbon tax is of a political nature, such a tax would negatively impact every aspect of the economy, including scientific research.

    • Jed

      If you haven’t heard this gentleman speak before, you might be interested in listening to this. Makes sense to me. Other lectures of his are also online.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ROw_cDKwc0

      • Eponymous1

        Over an hour? Can’t you give us the cliff’s notes version?

        • Paul

          It’s worth watching.

          • Jed

            Thanks again, Paul.

          • Paul

            I’d Like to hear what Uncle Al thinks of it.

          • Jed

            As would I. I dare not speak for Uncle Al, but if memory serves, along with other criticisms of AGW, he was talking about atmospheric water vapor in this equation long before it was popular.

          • Eponymous1

            I’m lame. And busy.

          • Jed

            Busy I can believe, but you can never be considered as lame.

        • Jed

          Ha! Good point. Brother Paul turned me on to this some time ago, and it is worth watching in full, but all joking aside, those who want the conclusion can start at about 48 minutes. For those really in a rush, the conclusion is that the IPCC version of AGW is bunk. He makes an excellent case for what many have been saying for quite some time now.

        • Paul

          He makes a pretty good argument that warming precedes CO2 rise, it doesn’t follow it. He as a pretty good explanation for the carbon13 data as well.

          • Eponymous1

            Thank you.

        • Jed

          He makes an excellent case that the proxy record of CO2 from ice core samples actually indicate a much higher level of atmospheric CO2 in earlier times than is supposed by supporters of AGW, and thus that current CO2 levels are neither unusual nor “excessive,” and that the amount of human generated CO2 pales in comparison to that naturally generated. He also demonstrates that the IPCC models fit neither the global energy budget nor observed conditions over recent decades. He is not alone in these and his other arguments against AGW. Contrary to the Party Line, a large number of scientists have disputed AGW for quite some time, but have been squelched by the propagandists.

          • Eponymous1

            Awesome, thanks!

          • Jed

            You are welcome. Also of note, and as Paul brought up, he discredits the claim made by the IPCC that modern increases in CO2 must be human sourced. He does this quite well by looking at the ratio of C12 to C13 in the atmosphere.

      • rhonda.foster

        Salby makes a compelling case against human caused “climate change”. He provides a nice summary in the last 10 minutes or so. Global warming is a scam. Thank you for sharing! :)

        • Jed

          Thank you, but thank Paul. He’s the one who introduced it to me.

          • Paul

            As long as it gets out there brother, good job yourself. Not being academically trained, I am not confident in my ability to support it in an intelligible way.

          • Jed

            Here’s another interesting presentation on the subject.
            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dk60CUkf3Kw

          • http://www.mazepath.com/uncleal/qz4.htm Uncle Al

            Who is this man who demands empirical facts exist independent of activist intent and political connivance? We will not defer to vermin defining truth and morality by convenience of the moment.

          • Jed

            Hear, hear! If you bring the torches, I’ll bring the pitchforks.

          • Paul

            I’m in.

          • Shep Schultz

            You guys gonna have a party without me?
            *************
            (sniff)

          • Paul

            Never Shep. You’re bringin the booze.

          • Shep Schultz

            What kinda party will this be?

          • Paul

            Does it matter?
            I think we were going to tar and feather someone but I forget who.

          • Shep Schultz

            Paul!
            **************
            You’ve changed man…
            **************
            …and I like it!

          • Paul

            “Show me your friends and I’ll show you your future”
            It was inevitable.

          • Shep Schultz

            You poor guy.
            **************
            I am really sorry about that.

          • cwgf

            I’m in.

          • john

            Al, I miss you. Going to the AG next year?

          • http://www.mazepath.com/uncleal/qz4.htm Uncle Al

            Hard to say. I’m sitting on a couple of things that require others to do their jobs to fulfill. It’s slow going. How does one whip draft animals when one cannot differentiate their leading from their trailing ends?

          • john

            Al, figuratively shoot one publicly, if you can, and use it as an example of the stick. remember that the carrot /stick principle applies to all forms of animals. I am intending to go, and hoping to see as many old friends as I can.

        • john

          I do like your comment… refreshing to hear from someone addressing this issue that is not of the Church of the Green…. bucks.

      • Andreas

        Heavily upvoted climate change denialism in the Neuroskeptic comment field? This reeks of a brigade.

        • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/neuroskeptic/ Neuroskeptic

          It does seem that way and normally I delete off topic threads but this one was more personal conversation than trolling attempt.

  • Pingback: How to commit scientific fraud - American Council on Science and Health()

  • BillCourtney

    For the last twelve years I have been fighting to expose a
    curious case of research fraud on a related theme: The researchers falsely
    claimed to the funding body that an industrial partner wanted bad research to
    be done. They went ahead and did the bad research under protest from me,
    published it and were paid in full for their fraud. This fraud may have cost
    lives.

    I have
    published the evidence on two web pages http://www.cheshire-innovation.com/sali/CrashSALi-Project_files/Exhibit%2037%20Bad%20packaging.htm
    and http://www.cheshire-innovation.com/sali/pedsali.htm

  • vidar1971

    They falsifeid test of borrelia and the cryme is that they wanted to press true a vaccine that made the same disease it should protect against.. Here are evidence.

    Through a massive compilation of published scientific research and public record documents, SASH makes a convincing case for Lyme Disease, ME/CFS, Gulf War Illness, Fibromyalgia and Autism sharing a common mechanism of fungal induced immunosuppression, known to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) as “Post Sepsis Syndrome.” They report that such immunosuppression leads to the chronic reactivation in the central nervous system of multiple viruses such as Epstein Barr Virus, Cytomegalovirus and HHV 6, leading to cancers and an AIDS like disease. SASH also shares evidence that the interaction of fungi with attenuated viruses in vaccine vials causes the reactivation of those viruses and ultimately, the diseases they are meant to prevent.

    https://www.academia.edu/12589656/Charge_Sheets_documents_-_complete_2015

  • http://www.actionlyme.org/ Kathleen Dickson

    The perfect science crime: Let the DNA patenteers organize first around a name like the ALDF.com. [That is, AFTER you deploy one of your own at the NIH, dispensing grants only to your cabal (Edward McSweegan) such that the NIH becomes your free venture capital.]
    Next, send someone like Allen Steere to Europe to falsify the case definition of your central RICO enterprise-launching disease-related product to capture the whole new vaccines and test kits genre (tick borne diseases), but do not make available exactly how Steere falsified the case definition to the general public as free full-text from PubMed:
    http://www.actionlyme.org/STEERE_IN_EUROPE.htm
    Here you see ^^ how Steere left OspA and B out the diagnostic standard for Lyme while all the while previously claiming it is so specific to Lyme it could be a vaccine, as well as adding the ridiculous ELISA as a first step to exclude all neuroLyme cases. Foolish? Yes, but who are his critics? Only the patients. “MDs?” No, they do not read and are not trained scientists.
    Next, slam everyone who objects to the falsified case definition, and deploy the likes of Simon Wessely to claim that all people who do not meet the vaccine-disease-definition to be a conjurer. It’s all good. Not only does no one ever ask why there are so many self-conjuring incompetent witches all failing to pass the same SPELL test, people are apparently still afraid of witches, especially, “MDs.”

  • Jerry Seidel

    Sometimes the industry is not interested in correcting fraud. The Dearborn criteria for Lyme testing required raising the limit of detection by 5 standard deviations instead of the typical 3 standard deviations. This allowed those with a strong immune response, an HLA linked immune response to still test positive. It cutoff those with neurolyme, those without the HLA linked outcome so they would test negative. The cutoff was placed right between the two. Other tests reveal the Borrelia burgdorferi antibodies but insurance companies can refuse payment for treatment because they only have to acknowledge results from that one test. People with Lyme are sick for decades and develop all kinds of other health issues. When fraud helps generate billions like it does in the Lyme deception it becomes difficult to stop it.

  • Ejsenbrajn

    I believe this already happened:

    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v467/n7319/abs/nature09510.html

    First author is a known serial exaggerator, he carefully picked absentee advisors and worked in a field where nothing is ever even attempted to be replicated (due to scarcity of patients).

    Well thought out.

    I would be shocked to learn that this is real.

  • Pingback: Weekend reads: How to publish in Nature; social media circumvents peer review; impatience leads to fakery - Retraction Watch at Retraction Watch()

  • Skidoo McSerious

    More accurately: “There are no routine audits in ACADEMIC science. No-one digs into studies at random…”

    Come over to the dark side. In Pharma, we have random FDA audits that can even lead to jail time if fraud is discovered.

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No brain. No gain.

About Neuroskeptic

Neuroskeptic is a British neuroscientist who takes a skeptical look at his own field, and beyond. His blog offers a look at the latest developments in neuroscience, psychiatry and psychology through a critical lens.

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