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

NPR5 min read
Nursing Home Recreates Communist East Germany For Dementia Patients
Trips down memory lane — to a highly regimented place that no longer exists — are the hallmark of this Dresden home for the elderly.
NPR1 min read
French Prison Guards Step Up Nationwide Strike Over Security, Pay Concerns
The protest follows a series of violent attacks against guards. Unions representing the prison workers are calling for better security and pay raises.
NPR3 min readPolitics
Shutdown Question: Who's Out Of Touch With The American People?
Republicans and Democrats both claim the public is on their side in the shutdown struggle. But they are really only listening to their own section of the choir.