Reform is nearly impossible if the incentive structure remains as it is — rewarding publication in and of itself. On the other hand, nothing stays the same forever and growing public cynicism might provide a spur to reform.
Michael Cook: The gold standard for fraud is a Japanese researcher in anaesthetics, Yoshitaka Fujii, of Toho University. By the time he came unstuck about 10 years ago, he had published around 200 articles – and 183 of them have been retracted because he had falsified the data. “If someone can publish 183 fabricated trials,” said Roberts, “the problem is not with him, the problem is with the system.”
Dr. Hesselmann’s probably right but how depressing. In a world where so much research that doesn’t involve fraud fails replication, it’s just a fact that most published research papers in many fields are probably wrong or at least sloppy. So why bother with fraud? But not exactly a good look for science.
The central weakness of totalitarianism is that it exalts the powerful lie over the fact. But nature doesn’t reward that behavior. It may take a long or short time for the system to collapse (and other systems can collapse for other reasons). But the insistence that 2+2=5 if the Party says so is a lethal flaw.