Brian Wansink lost his job after a review of his 25-year career. David Randall, NAS director of research, writing for the Wall Street Journal explains: the report found “he had committed a litany of academic breaches: ‘misreporting of research data, problematic statistical techniques, failure to properly document and preserve research results’ and more.”
So how to prevent scientific fraud? David offers another solution:
A generation of Mr. Wansink’s journal editors and fellow scientists failed to notice anything wrong with his research—a powerful indictment of the current system of academic peer review, in which only subject-matter experts are invited to comment on a paper before publication. Mr. Wansink’s resignation, on the other hand, points to the possibility of a cross-disciplinary approach to evaluating the reproducibility of scientific research. This new approach could even include criticism by nonscientists.
Institutions, such as Cornell where Wansink worked, appear to be taking this so-called crisis seriously. Perhaps even other colleges and universities will follow suit with investigations. Most helpful would be institutions pushing researchers to be transparent and follow established methods for producing reproducible science.