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Beware: This Blog Apparently Causes Academic Fraud

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Way to scapegoat, Chronicle of Higher Education!

An article about a Dutch psychologist accused of faking his research data wonders if academic fraudsters are responding to the wrong incentives:

Is a desire to get picked up by the Freakonomics blog, or the dozens of similar outlets for funky findings, really driving work in psychology labs? Alternatively—though not really mutually exclusively—are there broader statistical problems with the field that let snazzy but questionable findings slip through?

All I can say is that if you’re an academic who’s willing to fake your findings just to get on this blog (!!!), then you have a dangerously distorted sense of reward versus risk. Yes, a blog mention may indeed result in heightened exposure — but to risk your academic integrity for that? Anyone that desperate for attention might be best served pursuing good p.r. the old-fashioned way: cash bribes!

That said, it is worth noting that a piece of eye-grabbing research often does get massively exposed and then, if corrected, the correction tends to gather dust. Consider David Freedman‘s excellent Atlantic piece about this problem in medical research.