Seminar on Fraud, Plagiarism and Academic Dishonesty

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Prof. Peter J. T. Verheijen giving a seminar
Prof. Peter J. T. Verheijen giving a seminar

Prof. Peter J. T. Verheijen gave a seminar on fraud, plagiarism and academic dishonesty at Institute of Nuclear Science & Technology on 14th June 2017.  Here we just give an overview of his talk, but you can download and read the entire presentation here.

In the recent days, there has been a rise in competition in the world of academics as more and more academics institutions are coming up. For the institution to stay afloat, they have to publish hence increased use of the statement “publish or perish.” This in some cases has led to a lack of scientific integrity in authors as they try to stay afloat.  Scientific integrity is important and leads to better science, trust and respect as science is built on the shoulders of others.

Academic dishonesty exists everywhere and much more than we think. It is a creeping phenomenon that starts with seemingly innocent acts until at the end the person or group believes in it.  Commonly encountered malpractices include:

 There are different forms of scientific misconduct involving data fabrication and falsification. These includes:
  • Simply producing data that are not there
  • Removal of outliers from data or smoothing
  • Just picking out an outlier without verification and using it as “proof” of one’s theory
  • Cherry picking or selective reporting
  • P-hacking- generating hypotheses afterwards until something significant is found. Data dredging
  • Deliberate statistical errors: selective sampling, not reporting sample size, leaving out results from control, etc.

Plagiarism is another form of academic dishonesty. It is the use of ideas, concepts, words, or structures without approximately acknowledging the source to benefit in a setting where originality is expected. The right thing to do is always to give citation when using materials from others, and when exact text is used put it between quotes and cite.

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