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Expert on Scientific Misconduct to Start UT Science Forum

The growing trend of falsified and plagiarized research will be discussed at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville’s first Science Forum of the semester.

Neal Stewart, professor and Racheff Chair of Excellence in Plant Molecular Genetics, will present “Scientific Misconduct: Is It Getting Worse?” Friday, Sept. 6.

The Science Forum, presented by Quest, is a weekly brown-bag lunch series that allows professors and area scientists to discuss their research with the general public in a conversational presentation.

The presentations begin at noon on Fridays in Room C-D of Thompson-Boling Arena. Attendees can bring lunch or purchase it at the arena. Each presentation is forty minutes long and is followed by a question-and-answer session. Science Forum presentations are free and open to the public.

There are legal consequences to research falsification, fabrication and plagiarism, but the U.S. Office of Research Integrity is reporting increasing numbers of violations. This information, alongside the growing number of retractions in journals, leads Stewart to believe scientific misconduct is on the rise.

“Research integrity is challenged by sanctionable offenses, but the situation of scientific misconduct is getting worse,” Stewart said. “What can scientists—and mentors of scientists—do?”

Stewart has published a book on the subject: Research Ethics for Scientists: A Companion for Students.