Honesty of scientists and reliability of science. Practice

Maciej W. Grabski


The changing environment of science and transformed methods of practising science are a tough test of its honesty and honour. The situation today is completely different than a few decades ago, when science was able to deal by itself with disclosed cases of dishonesty in the community. Today new discoveries require huge outlays of public money, team work, interinstitutional and multidisciplinary methods, and international co-operation. Furthermore, increasingly close interactions between politics, business and society on the one hand, and science on the other, have become a lasting element of the contemporary world, bringing with it conflicts of interest and the threat of intellectual corruption. These factors have led to pathological trends in science that are hard to control, while the problem of scientific misconduct is no longer an internal concern of the scientific community. To maintain public confidence in science and the trust science should have in itself, it is necessary to create an environment which would properly, institutionally protect and promote diligence and an attachment to compliance with high standards. This process began in the world twenty years ago, but has yet to be started in Poland. This is why the scientific community, acting in its own interest, should demand of administrators of science in Poland that they, like their counterparts in other countries which want to play a major role in science and its international partnership, undertake genuine measures aimed at introducing a system for protecting science from the pathologies and various forms of dishonesty it is plagued by. The solutions are simple, and many well-tested examples exist. Unless this succeeds, our lack of preparation for dealing with inevitably approaching events will cause us to pay a huge social price.


science; honesty; dishonesty; reliability; misconduct

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