(NaturalNews) The peer review process is alleged to be the "gold standard" of the scientific process, as it is supposed to ensure that only legitimate scientific studies get published. But a recent admission by psychologist and researcher Diederik Stapel, that he knowingly faked and made up data for numerous studies published in peer-reviewed journals proves that the process is more of a joke than anything else.
Reuters London reports that Dutch psychologist Diederik Stapel, who worked at Tilburg University in the Netherlands, has confessed to falsifying research studies on numerous occasions. Blaming the fact that he felt constant pressure to "score points, to publish, to always have to be better," Stapel fudged data and basically made up studies, which were later peer-reviewed and published in reputable journals like Science.
"I have failed as a scientist, as a researcher," said Stapel to the media. "I have adjusted research data and faked research. Not just once, but several times, and not just briefly, but over a long period of time. I am ashamed of this and I am deeply sorry."
But a quick "sorry" just does not cut it, especially considering the weight such studies hold with medical professionals around the world. Studies like the ones Stapel forged are often used to develop new treatment methods for patients, for instance -- and doctors who rely on falsified data to treat patients could end up inadvertently injuring or killing them.
Stapel admits studies are fraudulent, but journals are only concerned, and have no definitive intention of withdrawing them
There is no indication, however, that Stapel will be held criminally liable for his disturbing actions, or even that his studies will be withdrawn from the journals in which they were published. Bruce Alberts, editor-in-chief of Science, wrote in an "expression of concern" on the online edition of the journal that "the extent of the fraud by Stapel is substantial." An understatement, the journal also added that it has serious concerns about the validity of Stapel's studies.
Serious concern? A man admits to knowingly falsifying many scientific studies, and one of the journals that published some of them says it now has serious concerns, but has not indicated it will withdraw them. This lightweight response would be humorous if it did not represent an atrocious double standard within the scientific community.
Remember how The Lancet treated Dr. Andrew Wakefield when his work was called into question by outsiders with ulterior motives? Nobody was ever able to prove that Dr. Wakefield's research into the MMR vaccine and autism was falsified. We here at NaturalNews showed that the study was, in fact, valid (http://www.naturalnews.com/Andrew_Wakefield....). But thanks to intense political pressure, The Lancet pulled his study anyway, and the media continues to echo the lie that Dr. Wakefield is a fraud.
But in this case, Stapel's work, after admittedly being falsified by the man himself, is only a fleeting "concern." Because after all, the supposedly reputable journals that negligently published his work do not want to face further scrutiny for admitting that they messed up in a major way. And so it goes into the circus of mainstream medical science, which is more concerned with preserving an image and fulfilling an agenda than it is with pursuing the truth.
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