NPR

How A Budget Squeeze Can Lead To Sloppy Science And Even Cheating

The hypercompetitive world of biomedical research occasionally drives scientists to cheat. More often, scientists make decisions that undercut their results. That can lead colleagues astray.
Stories of outright misconduct are rare in science. But the pressures on researchers manifest in many more subtle ways, say social scientists studying the problem. Source: Eva Bee/Getty Images

A funding crunch for scientific research is creating incentives for scientists to cut corners and even occasionally to cheat.

This is one of the findings in a new report about scientific integrity from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine.

Sometimes scientists adopt sloppy practices that can lead to false conclusions. This can hamper progress in science. And taxpayer dollars are on the line.

Consider the story of a genetics lab at the University of Wisconsin. Mary Allen was a graduate student in that lab in 2005. One postdoctoral researcher had been laid off because of a funding shortage, and the professor in charge of the lab was scrambling

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from NPR

NPR3 min read
Quarantined In Vietnam: Scenes From Inside A Center For Returning Citizens
The photographer, a photojournalism student at Syracuse University, documents her enforced quarantine after abruptly returning from her study abroad.
NPR2 min read
In The Midst Of Chaos, Channy Leaneagh Of Poliça Is Doing The Next Right Thing
In Our Daily Breather, we ask writers and artists to recommend ways to find calm and comfort in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis. For Channy Leaneagh, that means moving slowly and thoughtfully.
NPR2 min read
The Beat Goes On: High School Choirs Improvise In The Age Of Coronavirus
After cancelled musicals and spring concerts, choral directors across the country are going the extra mile to have their students' voices heard.