Nov 29 2012
Scientific Fraud: How and why it is done, and what can be done about it?


There are few issues more important to universities than scientific fraud and its prevention. Integrity and truthfulness are the cornerstones of academic research. If universities are unable to guarantee honest, objective and accurate research, they lose their reason to exist. We would then be deprived of institutions in which research results are free of any commercial, political, religious or ideological manipulation. If integrity is so crucial to universities, why are researchers sometimes compelled to manipulate their data or plagiarize the work of their colleagues? What do we know about the scale of academic fraud in modern universities? Is it true that academic institutions are eager to combat plagiarism among their students but reluctant to do the same among their staff? Why do some academics feel compelled to cheat? Is achievement pressure detrimental? Do we need to lower academic achievement standards or can we mitigate potentially fraudulent tendencies by introducing more codes of conduct and regulations? Perhaps what we need most of all is a thorough change of mentality within our research communities? 


Part 1: 14.00 - 15.45

  • Welcome address by Prof. Jacques Willems, Chairman of the University Foundation
  • Introduction to the subject by Prof. Bart Pattyn, Coordinator of the Ethical Forum
  • Short keynote addresses:
    • Daniele Fanelli, University of Edinburgh: “How Many Scientists Fabricate and Falsify Research?” (document)
    • Michelle Bergadaà, Geneva University : “The Inertia of the Academic System towards Plagiarism” (document)
    • Pieter Drenth, Hon. President ALLEA (All European Academies): "Scientific Integrity and Social Responsibility: The Role of Academies of Sciences" (document1, document2)

Interpellations from the floor (document)

Part 2: 16.15 - 18.00

  • Panel discussion:
    • Ad Lagendijk (Institute for Atomic and Molecular Physics AMOLF, Amsterdam)
    • Elisabeth Monard (Secretary General FWO) (document)
    • Véronique Halloin (Secretary General FNRS) (document)
    • Kris Dierickx (Centre for Biomedical Ethics and Law, KULeuven) (document)
    • Axel Cleeremans (Consciousness, Cognition & Computation Group, ULB)

General discussion concluded by Philippe Van Parijs.