In keeping with the theme of this series of articles about reasons for scepticism in science, as fate would have it, the news cycle has delivered potentially yet another case in point of scientific and academic misconduct. Since it appears that they have already been found guilty, the two (now former) researchers seem to have been caught out fabricating results in ways that have been quite common in recent years, including through the manipulation of data and images.
In the second article linked below, one of the major journals for publishing research outlines some of the ways in which image and data manipulation are detected, or at least searched for. The severity of the problem, which is only slightly alluded to in this second article, is much worse than the public are aware of, mainly due to the fact that there is a lack of qualified and technically proficient reviewers to screen research before it is published.
The situation is further worsened by the fact that most research paper reviewers who examine studies before they are published are not even paid for their work, and are instead other scientists or researchers who volunteer their time and effort. Add to that the mad rush by other researchers to cite articles as soon as they are published in order to increase their own fame, and it is easy to see why so many researchers can get away with fraud.
Returning to the NTU and NYMU fraudsters, perhaps partly due to the reasons just mentioned, both universities claim to have already reviewed the research papers of the dishonest researchers and had not found any problems previously.
Adding insult to injury, they have received awards, promotions, and hundreds of thousands of dollars of public money in the form of subsidies and research grants to conduct their fraudulent research, and yet if the article is correct, despite being forced to give back the subsidies and receiving only temporary suspensions from the Ministry of Science and Technology, they are not going to face criminal charges, lose their jobs, or even get fined. With just a slap on the wrist like this, you can almost hear Stephen Hawking turning in his grave.
NTU physician fabricated research: report
The art of detecting data and image manipulation