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University of Oregon
UO Libraries

Exploring Academic Integrity in Your Research

A UO Libraries self-guided tutorial on integrity in library research and using sources ethically

7 - Academic Dishonesty

Academic dishonesty -- Falsifying results

Falsifying results in studies or experiments is a serious breach of academic honesty, whether the falsification is small ("This data point is so different from the others that I must have misread the thermometer. I'll just fix it...") or larger in scope. Or whether the stakes are high (for example, research that will be published) or lower (for examples, results from a chem lab experiment).

 

A professor at the University of Washington falsified results in NIH-grant-funded AIDS research. He lost his job, had to withdraw his articles from prestigious journals, and received unfavorable news coverage. Also, other people who cited his work had to reexamine all of their results.

 

People are sometimes tempted to make up results to get more attention or funding, but they almost always get caught, even if it is years later. We build knowledge and skills together (as part of a global scholarly conversation), so falsifying data can have major consequences on our careers, fields, the well-being of communities, and society, regardless of the discipline.

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