Scientific misconducts sometimes do happen in the career-driven discipline of science. Scientists are under constant pressure to publish high-profile scientific articles in peer-reviewed journals to prop up their reputation, which may motivate them to fabricate results. Some even resort to plagiarism by taking or attempting to take credit for the work of another. Here are five scientists who have committed misconducts and unethical behavior in professional scientific research.
Persaud is a popular consultant psychiatrist-author, who is best known for promoting public awareness of mental health issues through his various writings and media appearances. In 2005, he was accused of plagiarism by Thomas Blass, psychology professor at the University of Maryland, who alleged that a major part of Persaud’s article published in “Progress in Neurology and Psychiatry” (Vol. 9, Issue 2) and an earlier column in the “Times Educational Supplement” had been copied from Blass’ original work on Stanley Milgram’s 1963 “compliance” experiments without due acknowledgement. One of his articles in “The Independent” (June 30, 2005) concerning Scientology’s relationship to psychiatry was also found to have contained texts from a publication of the Canadian lecturer Stephen Kent without proper attribution.
In all these allegations, he attempted to excuse himself by blaming the editors instead. He ultimately admitted to his long history of plagiarism at a hearing conducted by the General Medical Council’s “fitness to practise panel” in 2008, when it became known that many of his popular books, articles and research papers included materials that seemed to have been “cut and pasted” from other scholars’ works and numerous internet sources. He was found “guilty of dishonesty and for bringing the profession into disrepute,” and was sentenced to 3 months suspension from practice. According to the Panel Chairman Dr. Anthony Morgan, the reason for the short length of suspension was because “the panel took into account that there had been no patient harm, that his plagiarism was not financially motivated, that it did not relate to research fraud, and that it was unlikely to be repeated.”
Hwang is a South Korean biomedical scientist, who instantly gained international prominence for two articles published in March 2004 and June 2005 edition of the journal Science. In both of his articles, he claimed to have successfully cloned human embryos and extract stem cells from them using a new effective method with very few eggs. Prior to this declaration, it was the general consensus among researchers that making human embryonic stem cells through cloning was an impossible feat considering the complexities of primates. His success was supposed to be a promising step toward the goal of therapeutic cloning, which was to one day provide cures for degenerative diseases like diabetes, Alzheimer’s and even spinal injuries, without fear of any immune reactions.