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The Dark Side of Science: Misconduct in Biomedical Research

Tuesday, 18 October 2022 from 1pm-2pm UK time

Science builds upon science. Even after peer-review and publication, science papers could still contain images or other data of concern. If not addressed post-publication, papers containing incorrect or even falsified data could lead to wasted time and money spent by other researchers trying to reproduce those results. Several high-profile science misconduct cases have been described, but many more cases remain undetected. Elisabeth Bik is an image forensics detective who left her paid job in industry to search for and report biomedical articles that contain errors or data of concern. She has done a systematic scan of 20,000 papers in 40 journals and found that about 4% of these contained inappropriately duplicated images. In her talk she presented her work and showed several types of inappropriately duplicated images and other examples of research misconduct, such as paper mills. In addition, she showed how to report scientific papers of concern, and how journals and institutions can handle such allegations.

Elisabeth Bik is a Dutch microbiologist living in California, who has worked for 15 years at Stanford University and 2 years in industry. Since 2019, she has worked as a science integrity volunteer and occasional consultant, who scans the biomedical literature for images or other data of concern and has reported over 4,000 scientific papers.