For the reviled-by-Republicans and decreasing number of us that still believe in the value of science, this is disturbing:
In the fall of 2010, Dr. Ferric C. Fang made an unsettling discovery. Dr. Fang, who is editor in chief of the journal Infection and Immunity, found that one of his authors had doctored several papers.
The journal wound up retracting six of the papers from the author, Naoki Mori of the University of the Ryukyus in Japan. ...
Dr. Fang became curious how far the rot extended. To find out, he teamed up with a fellow editor at the journal, Dr. Arturo Casadevall of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York. And before long they reached a troubling conclusion: not only that retractions were rising at an alarming rate, but that retractions were just a manifestation of a much more profound problem — “a symptom of a dysfunctional scientific climate,” as Dr. Fang put it.
Dr. Casadevall, now editor in chief of the journal mBio, said he feared that science had turned into a winner-take-all game with perverse incentives that lead scientists to cut corners and, in some cases, commit acts of misconduct.
“This is a tremendous threat,” he said.
The thing about science that so many fail to understand (other than the whole thing) is that it is, as opposed to political dogma and by definition, self-correcting. That's how this sort of stuff is discovered, and expunged. Still, as standards of truth and honesty seem to be eroding steadily and irreversibly, it's worrisome. (Yes, the quoted paragraph refers to a Japanese researcher, but the article identifies the trend across the board; and, by its measure, the greatest number of retractions come from The New England Journal of Medicine, of all places.)