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  Mens Sana Monographs
A Monograph Series Devoted To The Understanding Of Medicine, Mental Health, Man, Mind, Music And Their Matrix
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Year : 2012  |  Volume : 10  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 158-180

Criminals in the citadel and deceit all along the watchtower: Irresponsibility, fraud, and complicity in the search for scientific truth

M.D., MRCPsych; Professor of Psychiatry & Director, South Asian Cochrane Centre, Prof. BV Moses & ICMR Centre for Evidence-Informed Healthcare., Christian Medical College, Vellore -632002, Tamil Nadu, India

Correspondence Address:
Prathap Tharyan
Professor of Psychiatry, Christian Medical College, Vellore -632002, Tamil Nadu
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0973-1229.91426

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Scientific research aims to use reliable methods to produce generalizable new knowledge in order to understand the human condition and maximize human potential. The sanctity accorded to scientific research has been violated by numerous instances of research fraud, as well as deceptive and conflicted research that have seriously harmed people, subverted the evidence-base, wasted valuable resources, and undermined public trust. This deception by individuals has been fostered by the unrealistic expectations of society; facilitated by the complicity of institutions and organisations; and sanctioned by the inaction of supposed gate-keepers. Re-defining misconduct as occurring on a continuum from irresponsible to fraudulent is the first step in confronting this inconvenient truth. Implementing and evaluating multiple strategies targeting systems and individuals that promote the responsible conduct of research, rather than merely exposing serious instances of misconduct by individuals, is urgently required to restore faith in the aspirations, integrity, and results of scientific research.

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