The negative role of plagiarism in the development of science today has been discussed in this article. We have made sure that this article is as informative as possible so that you will get all you need to know about this topic.
Science always tries to keep progressing, but as time goes by it becomes more complicated. The world is becoming more and more competitive and many people try to take credit for things they have not done.
Plagiarism is the process of copying without permission an already published article or research. This issue and the problems it generates is the topic which we will discuss in this article.
Plagiarism has been around for many years, but with the rise of the Internet, it is having more impact than ever and is affecting, among other things, the development of science. The unapproved copying of articles and books is a serious problem that needs to be addressed.
Plagiarism is more common than you think
You may think that plagiarism is something that happens occasionally, but, it is something that happens more often than you think. One of the main reasons why plagiarism is so prevalent is because scientists are forced to get positive results. Many have to use information from other studies to continue to maintain the grants that allow them to do research. Without those positive results, these grants usually are withdrawn. The magazines where articles are published always check plagiarism and published only unique content. Another reason why data are plagiarized from other scientific publications is that the researcher has not been accurate.
Research can be very time-consuming and a small error can completely change the results. What may seem unimportant can become serious if it accumulates over a long period of time.
Instead of repeating all the research again, many scientists make up the results or copy the results of other research.
Continue reading to discover the negative role of plagiarism in the development of science today.
Some of the most famous cases of plagiarism and fraud in science history
There are many cases of plagiarism throughout history and many of them have been very popular. This is because they have been carried out by very relevant people or because the results obtained in the experiments published were very important. In this section we will talk about some of the most famous cases of plagiarism:
In 2011, the Japanese scientist claimed to have discovered a new way of obtaining stem cells. This discovery was a complete revolution in the world of science and medicine. After a few years, several scientists pointed out that there were several difficult questions to answer about the ethics of Obotaka’s research.
Also, the experiments were impossible to be replicated. The accusations against Obotaka did not stop there, as it they also proved that some of the images in the publication resembled others published in a doctoral thesis. Obotaka withdrew his publication from Nature, the world’s leading science journal. In 2014 she resigned from her position as a researcher.
This researcher has the privilege of saying that thanks to him, one of the most harmful pseudoscientific beliefs in history spread. His publications were the cause of triggering the rumor that the MMR vaccine was a trigger for autism.
At first Andrew Wakefield published his thesis and nothing happened. After a few years the problems came, when other researchers were unable to replicate his experiments. They realized that the data published in the paper did not correspond to reality.
Wakefield had used results from other research in his own to draw conclusions of interest to him. His thesis showed that the MMR vaccine and autism were related, although in reality this relationship was false.
To date, it has been completely demonstrated that there is no evidence that this relationship exists. Due to the controversy in which he was involved, Wakefield was discredited as a scientist and removed from his position. This led him to become a popular anti-vaccine activist and start a career as a science communicator, despite his ideas are completely wrong and have no scientific evidence.
Other important case of plagiarism in modern science is the one committed by Alexander Spivak. This mathematician and researcher at the Holon Institute of Technology (HIT) in Israel had to withdraw two of his publications because it was discovered that he had plagiarized them.
One of them was plagiarized from his supervisor and the other from a group of researchers in Tel Aviv.
What he did in the latter case was to take two chapters of the Tel Aviv mathematicians’ research and publish them as separate articles in the “International Journal of Pure and Applied Mathematics”.
Although Alexander Spivak was not removed from the research, he was forced to take a gap year and disappear from the public eye for some months. Because of this HIT was heavily criticized, as plagiarism is frowned upon in science. In 2015, another of Alexander Spivak’s articles had to be withdrawn for the same reasons as the previous ones.
El hombre de Piltdown
This is not a case of plagiarism, but one of the biggest scientific frauds in history and it is necessary to talk about it in this article to show how non-transparent science can be sometimes.
We are talking about the 20th century, a few years before the beginning of the First World War. In Germany a fossil was discovered, a jawbone, of what years later would be named as a new species, the Homo heidelbergensis. This finding did not please the British, who did not want to be left behind in anthropological research and in the discovery of new species and ancestors of the human race.
Few years later, the archaeologists Charles Dawson and Smith Woodward said they had discovered the missing link between humans and apes and showed the fossils of this species that, according to them, they had found in London, specifically in Piltdown.
It was not until 1953, 40 years later, that the scientific community realized that it had all been a complete fraud, that the fossils that supposedly belonged to the missing link between humans and apes, were nothing more than the remains of a skull of a man from the Middle Ages, an orangutan jaw and the teeth of a chimpanzee.
As it is logical, all this meant a great obstacle for the advance of science, since many articles began to base their investigations on the discovery of this man of Piltdown, when everything turned out to be a fraud. Years of research were thrown away because two men decided they wanted to be remembered and go down in history for a fraud, for something they had not discovered.
The future of science
It is of little use to go down in history if what you publish is a fraud or plagiarism. Science is something vocational, something you get into because you really want to change the world. You can’t go into science if you want to be famous and successful, because chances are you won’t make it.
It is very important to make new scientists see that life in the world of science is not easy, you have to work hard and the rewards are not proportional to the effort needed to get them.
The scientific community has to make an extra effort to verify the veracity of the publications and that the research carried out is real and replicable, that there is no plagiarism and, in short, that there is no fraud. Fraud in science is a very serious problem, because it can lead to many future research studies, which are based on that fraud, becoming a waste of time and money when it is discovered that the publication on which they were based was untrue.
Science has to change. Scientists must start to be considered as what they are, heroes. Thanks to them we live as well as we do. Medicine, technology, chemistry… advance thanks to science and the efforts of researchers and we cannot allow plagiarists and fraudulent scientists to triumph and take away the merits of those who have dedicated their lives to science.
Journals and research centres have to do more to avoid plagiarism since this is a virus that only generates problems in the scientific community. The experiments in all articles should be tested and replicated after publication to prove that they are real and that there has been no plagiarism or modification of the data to get convenient results.
The advancement of science favours society and that is why we must try to make it as pure and real as possible. Without accurate and proven publications in medicine, it is impossible for us to provide cures for diseases that are taking millions of lives every year.
Hope the negative role of plagiarism in the development of science discussed here was of help. Do well to tell us your thoughts.