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Full Version: Why are gamers so much better than scientists at catching fraud?
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EXCERPT: . . . Whether you believe the “inadvertently” part is up to you. The important thing is that the system worked: Dream’s ill-begotten time [...] became the latest in a long line of scam achievements exposed by moderators using sophisticated tools to uphold the field’s standards.

Scientists should pay attention.

Two weeks before Dream’s confession, and halfway around the world, another fraud scandal had just come to a conclusion. Following a long investigation, Japan’s Showa University released a report on one of its anesthesiology researchers, Hironobu Ueshima. Ueshima had turned out to be one of the most prolific scientific frauds in history, having partly or entirely fabricated records and data in at least 84 scientific papers, and altered data and misrepresented authorship on dozens more...

[...] Does it strike you as odd that so many people tuned in to hear about a doctored speedrun of a children’s video game, while barely a ripple was made—even among scientists—by the discovery of more than 80 fake scientific papers? These weren’t esoteric papers, either, slipped into obscure academic journals. They were prominent medical studies, the sort with immediate implications for real-life patients in the operating room. Consider two titles from Ueshima’s list of fraudulent or possibly fabricated findings: “Investigation of Force Received at the Upper Teeth by Video Laryngoscopy” and “Below-Knee Amputation Performed With Pericapsular Nerve Group and Sciatic Nerve Blocks.” You’d hope that the mechanisms for purging fake studies such as these from the literature—and thus, from your surgeon’s reading list—would be pretty strong.

Alas, that’s not often the case. The scientific community has long looked the other way when fraud allegations fly. That Ueshima’s university made such an extensive investigation of his work and published it for all to see is unusual. Skeptics and whistleblowers who spot potential fraud in researchers’ work are routinely ignored, stonewalled, or sometimes attacked by universities or journal editors who don’t have the time or inclination to dig into potentially forged (and potentially dangerous) studies.

For example, it took 12 years for any action to be taken against the world’s most prolific scientific fraudster, Yoshitaka Fujii (coincidentally, another Japanese anesthesiologist), even after very convincing analyses of his dodgy data were published. Like Dream’s speedrun, Fujii’s data were just too good to be true: The fraud-spotters wrote, with admirable literalness, that they were “incredibly nice!”

Ironically, scientists who study what they claim are the pernicious effects of video games have been particularly lax about policing allegations of misconduct within their community; at the very least, they may be less diligent than gamers themselves. One researcher who recently left the field (and academia altogether) wrote about his exasperating experience trying to alert multiple journals and a university to obvious “gibberish” data in several video-game-violence papers: It did not go well; most of the relevant scientific authority figures reacted with little more than a shrug. “The experience has led me to despair for the quality and integrity of our science,” he wrote. “If data this suspicious can’t get a swift retraction, it must be impossible to catch a fraud equipped with skills, funding, or social connections.” (MORE - details)