Lies, Damned Lies and Research Data: Can Data Sharing Prevent Data Fraud?
After a spectacular case of data fraud in the field of social psychology surfaced in The Netherlands in September 2011, the Dutch research community was confronted with a number of questions. Is this an isolated case or is scientific fraud with data more common? Is the scientific method robust enough to uncover the results of misconduct and to withstand the breach of trust that fraud causes? How responsible and reliable are researchers when they collect, process, analyse and report on data? How can we prevent data fraud? Do we need to adapt the codes of conduct for researchers or do we need stricter rules for data management and data sharing?
This paper discusses the conclusions and recommendations of two reports that were published recently in consequence of this data fraud. The reports are relevant for scientific integrity and trustworthy treatment of research data. Next, this paper reports on the outcomes of enquiries in data cultures in a number of scientific disciplines. The concluding section of this paper contains a number of examples that show that the approach towards data sharing is improving gradually. The data fraud case can be regarded as a wake-up call.
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