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Scandals: Five Misbehaving Scientists

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.

Raj Persaud

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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 Woo-Suk

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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.

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  1. Patrick Bernauw

    On December 7, 2008 at 7:22 am


    Great article (great research too!).

  2. Bozsi Rose

    On December 7, 2008 at 7:49 am


    Wow! I had no idea. That must have taken you forever to research.

  3. Debra.

    On December 7, 2008 at 8:10 am


    Excellent detail, Eddie. This article very interesting!
    Nice job! God bless.
    DEB.

  4. Blue Buttefly

    On December 7, 2008 at 8:17 am


    Brilliant article! Interesting content.

  5. Juancav

    On December 7, 2008 at 8:43 am


    This happens even in the best families.

  6. Kim Buck

    On December 7, 2008 at 9:08 am


    Mad, mad, mad….

  7. Morgana

    On December 7, 2008 at 10:20 am


    Many scientist believe they are above the law and general rules.

  8. Lauren Axelrod

    On December 7, 2008 at 10:45 am


    This is fascinating. I’ve never heard of these people

  9. goodselfme

    On December 7, 2008 at 11:34 am


    This well written, detailed article just magnifies unjust things can be done by some of the greatest, most adored and believable people. Interesting post.

  10. M J katz

    On December 7, 2008 at 11:41 am


    Stealing other peoples’ hard work and then taking credit for it seems to be everywhere with very little actual punishment taking place.
    The sad part is that these scientists are educated and elite professionals who DO know right from wrong.
    Maybe we should bring back the public stockades….
    I’ll bring the tomatoes!!!!
    Great article, Eddie!!

  11. jangy

    On December 7, 2008 at 12:07 pm


    Don’t they see that THEY lose…we all lose; but they lose the most.

    There is a life rythem in us all and we add to all the world, by stealing another’s gift we blacken our own.

    I like the straight forward way you write. It is easy to follow and yet leaves me making up my own mind!!! That is talent my friend.

  12. R J Evans

    On December 7, 2008 at 1:43 pm


    The Persaud case was a real scandal here in the UK = hadn’t heard of the others tho! Thanks for a great write up. Tut tut! Naughty scientists!

  13. Hein Marais

    On December 7, 2008 at 1:54 pm


    It is actually sad when you see talented people doing bad things. Very well written article.

  14. R J Grant

    On December 7, 2008 at 3:22 pm


    So are these transgressions due to personality dysfunction or is the pressure to publish so great in the scientific community that it drives these folks to break the rules?

    Grant

  15. Jeoffrey Meister

    On December 7, 2008 at 3:52 pm


    I guess it doesn’t matter what field or profession you’re dealing with–you’ve got the good guys and the bad guys. Congratulations on this article; you must have put a lot of time and study into it.

  16. Jasin

    On December 7, 2008 at 4:30 pm


    Those people are where the meaning “mad scientist” comes from.
    Great article.

  17. Inna Tysoe

    On December 7, 2008 at 5:19 pm


    I wonder why they did it.

    Regards,

    Inna

  18. Joshua Miguel

    On December 7, 2008 at 5:28 pm


    what a wasted talent…these scientists are really mad! Great article ed. well researched one.

  19. Mark Gordon Brown

    On December 7, 2008 at 7:00 pm


    Excellent info Eddie
    Scientists need to push our way of thinking, but not push boundires into misconduct etc.

  20. Brenda Nelson

    On December 7, 2008 at 7:07 pm


    tsk tsk on what should have been a respectable person

  21. S A JOHNSON

    On December 7, 2008 at 8:18 pm


    Plagiarism is so wrong. I think people do it for many reasons, panic, laziness, but for whatever reason it is still very wrong. They were pretty big names huh, that awful, especially since plagiarism would definitely be a career breaker, and if you would have to work very very hard to get it back if there was a possibility.

  22. Karen Gross

    On December 8, 2008 at 12:11 am


    This is scary. To think that these “scientists” got away with publishing false information, and stealing funds is insane. It just goes to show how important redundant studies are in science. Studies which show results too good to be true, or which only present anecdotal evidence should always be investigated.
    Good article. It got lots of people thinking.

  23. K Kristie

    On December 8, 2008 at 1:44 am


    Wow! That got me thinking about the word “scientist.” What they did was very dangerous. Another great article. You always come up with interesting pieces.

  24. Unofre Pili

    On December 8, 2008 at 1:53 am


    Evidently, thirst for fame lured them to do such infamous acts. Very nice article bro.

  25. Dee Gold

    On December 8, 2008 at 6:37 am


    Very Interesting,Kababayan.
    They were given great minds but it’s really sad that they used them these ways.

  26. swapna

    On December 8, 2008 at 6:48 am


    excellent article…

  27. xoxo

    On December 8, 2008 at 6:59 am


    These are indeed naughty scientists. Great article, Eddie. Thanks.

  28. catlord

    On December 8, 2008 at 9:12 am


    Great!

  29. sue mcverry

    On December 8, 2008 at 10:30 am


    This is a very good read. Thanks.

  30. Westbrook

    On December 8, 2008 at 10:48 am


    Greed, thirst for power and recognition, the need to be first and the “hurry up society” in which we live in today, all contribute to such behavior. Great article.

  31. Chuck S

    On December 8, 2008 at 10:59 am


    This article is an excellent example of too little oversight in the scientific community. I only wish that our laws were enforced more strictly in this type of so-called research and findings to discredit these people from nonfactual results. More of us need to heed the findings in this article and move to a more open and responsive scientific community. The evolving technologies will eventually catch up with the nonfactual versus factual findings but more needs to be done prior to some of the misinformation being taken as absolute or fact.
    Very good read and article. thanks for the informative read.

  32. LIVING BY GRACE

    On December 8, 2008 at 2:24 pm


    Great article. I do not totally trust scientists these days, because of the things that your article points out.

    Really, I was hoping that some of these scientists were in evolutionary science, because I bet that there is a lot of faking results in this field, so to match the evidence that they supposedly collect to better support the theories that they are trying to prove. There are many Christian scientists that have collected evidence and research that would discredit evolution, but these scientists have been shunned and their research evidence dismissed as Christian science that cannot possibly be correct, just because of these scientists faith in God.

    God Bless,

    Nelson Doyle

  33. Paula Mitchell Bentley

    On December 8, 2008 at 4:56 pm


    This was a well written, easy to follow article that lead readers down the path these scientists walked. It seems that some people will do anything for money, power and recognition. It’s sad to see such highly trained, intelligent people throwing it all away.

  34. Eunice Tan

    On December 8, 2008 at 10:17 pm


    This is very interesting. I don’t have any idea about this kind of scandal. You make me aware of this thing.

  35. Anne Lyken Garner

    On December 9, 2008 at 1:38 pm


    I did see the Raj Persaud on TV. He used to be a trusted authority on matters of the mind. I was sorry to hear about that. I also watched a documentary about that doctor who claimed to have cloned a human. I often wonder how on earth he thought he could get away with that.

    Great article.

  36. nobert soloria bermosa

    On December 10, 2008 at 6:06 am


    nice post great job

  37. Bren Parks

    On December 11, 2008 at 10:36 am


    It is truly frightening to think about how these scientist have conducted themselves. Their actions could effect so many.

  38. Ruby Hawk

    On December 11, 2008 at 9:23 pm


    We respect and acknowledge the research of these scientists and how do we know which studies are false. It is scary to think about who else is out there with false data in the medical field that our lives depend on.

  39. Adam Henry Sears

    On December 14, 2008 at 10:45 pm


    Hi Eddie, how are you?
    I find your article is quite informative… and disheartening. To think that these people were entrusted with a degree from any institution, … all I can do is shake my head in dismay. Thanks for sharing.

  40. Johaubannah

    On December 30, 2008 at 8:57 am


    Scientists are also human that can make mistakes. They are sometimes obsessed in what they are doing. We called it crazy, insane. Hmmm but most of them are helpful isn’t it? Great one Eddie.

  41. Jenny Heart

    On January 11, 2009 at 8:42 am


    Great information that help us realize we need to research more, when it comes to our health. great writing!

  42. Michele Cameron Drew

    On January 14, 2009 at 12:45 am


    Eddie.. great article! Great research and well written as always. Love your work!

    -M

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