Science Ethics


Scientific Integrity vs. Malpractice & Misconduct

...worried about scientific integrity & ethics, malpractice & misconduct?
...concerned that scientific fraud through 'FFP' (falsification, fabrication, plagiarism) is only the tip of the iceberg?
...troubled about 'paper mills' with papers & authorships on sale, 'ghost' authorships, fake & predatory journals?
...alarmed by fake affiliations, 'honorary', 'guest', 'gift' & hyper-authorships, hyperprolific authors and citation cartels?
...affected by bad science through lying & faking, re-inventing & concealing, neglectful citing, bumptious writing & eye-washing, careless reading & sloppy searching, and unscientific thinking & working?
you are not alone!

...if you are interested, I am offering seminars on these issues:

Scientific Integrity Decline in Current Materials Research:
Insights & Vistas Beneath the Tip of the Iceberg

Erosion of Scientific Integrity Fueled by Quantitative Evaluation Metrics [Abstract]

References & Links for further reading ( be updated):


  • 11.06.2024 Scientific fraud: The case of the Spanish university rector should prompt change to ranking system, read more

  • 11.06.2024 An epidemic of scientific fakery threatens to overwhelm publishers, read more

  • 30.05.2024 Internal messages show how the new head of one of the world’s oldest universities organized a citation cartel, read more

  • 29.05.2024 The alarming rise of fake science - Fraudulent papers are flooding scientific journals, read more

  • 25.04.2024 Excessive use of words like ‘commendable’ and ‘meticulous’ suggests ChatGPT has been used in thousands of scientific studies, read more

  • 16.04.2024: The Spanish CSIC signs the Barcelona Declaration on Open Research, in particular not to leave the definition of quality of science to private companies read more (in Spanish)

  • 06.03.2024 Dentist José Luis Calvo Guirado joins the top 20 scientists whose studies have been retracted, read more

  • 12.02.2024: according to a recent report in the journal 'Nature', China conducts first nationwide review of retractions and research misconduct; Nature analysis reveals that since 2021 there have been more than 17,000 retractions with Chinese co-authors.

  • 31.01.2024: according to a recent report in the journal 'Science', the recent removal of 1000 researchers from Clarivate's HCR list concerns the entire field of mathematics, due to the formation of a citation cartel, mainly located in China and Saudi Arabia ( read more), pushing irrelevant researchers with irrelevant papers into the HCR list.
    Apparently, Clarivate is mortally terrified to loose it's business model, as 'citation gaming' becomes a popular 'sport' among certain researchers, fulfilling Goodhart's law.
    Citation Cartels are found also in other fields and countries, see e.g. Clarivate Crackdown on Biochar Citation Cartel'' ...for our own research field, take a look also at these profiles (example-1, example-2), to conceive a qualified opinion.

  • 12.12.2023 More than 10,000 research papers were retracted in 2023 — a new record, R. Van Noorden, Nature, 2023, 624, 479-481, read more reaching a broader public: ‘The situation has become appalling’: fake scientific papers push research credibility to crisis point (R. McKie,The Guardian), read more

  • 24.11.2023 Clarivate removes +1000 researchers from the list of "highly cited researcher", see their analysis, the article in El País in English and Spanish, and see also A turning point for Saudi Arabian affiliations

    News Archive

  • Scientific Production & Hyperprolific Authorship:
    04/2024: Elisabeth Bik, expert in scientific integrity: ‘We need to slow down scientific publishing’ read more
    01/2024: Publishing and the Dissemination of Science read more
    ...articles in El País:
    21.11.2023: Scientists paid large publishers over $1 billion in four years to have their studies published with open access read more
    Los científicos pagaron unos 1.000 millones de euros en cuatro años a las grandes editoriales para publicar sus estudios en abierto read more
    31.10.2023: Public funds being swallowed up by scientific journals with dubious articles read more
    La burbuja de las revistas científicas se traga millones de euros de dinero público read more
    ...the El País article is based on the study by M. A. Hanson et al: The Strain on Scientific Publishing
    05.10.2023: Spanish university administrator and colleagues linked to ‘factory’ producing fraudulent scientific studies read more
    Una megafábrica de estudios científicos falsos salpica a un vicerrector español y a tres colaboradores read more
    03.06.2023: A researcher who publishes a study every two days reveals the darker side of science read more
    Un científico que publica un estudio cada dos días muestra el lado más oscuro de la ciencia read more
    20.04.2023: Se nos pudre la ciencia read more
    19.04.2023: Joan Subirats: “Una persona que hace un artículo cada tres días es algo complicado de entender” read more

  • Fake Affiliations:
  • 03.11.2023 The Spanish science ministry takes action, establishing a ethics committee. In it's first report it defines rules on scientists' affiliations read more ...articles in El País (in Spanish):
    08.11.2023: Spanish national research council investigates five scientists for manipulating university rankings read more
    El CSIC abre expediente disciplinario a cinco científicos implicados en la trama saudí para amañar el ‘ranking’ de universidades” read more
    04.05.2023: Saudi scientist tells colleagues, ‘Stop this academic fraud’ read more
    Un científico saudí que rechazó ser coautor fantasma en estudios españoles: “Debemos detener esta bufonada académica” read more
    03.05.2023: Ética científica: ¿Cuántos escándalos tendrán que producirse para que tomemos medidas? read more
    20.04.2023: Un catedrático capta con su empresa tapadera a científicos españoles para que mientan y digan que trabajan en una universidad saudí read more
    19.04.2023: One of the most internationally cited scientists, Ai Koyanagi, forced to renounce her controversial contract with a Saudi university read more
    Una de las científicas más citadas del mundo, Ai Koyanagi, obligada a renunciar a su polémico contrato con una universidad saudí read more
    18.04.2023: Saudi Arabia pays Spanish scientists to pump up global university rankings read more
    Arabia Saudí paga a científicos españoles para hacer trampas en el ‘ranking’ de las mejores universidades del mundo read more
    31.03.2023: One of the world’s most cited scientists, Rafael Luque, suspended without pay for 13 years read more
    Suspendido de empleo y sueldo por 13 años uno de los científicos más citados del mundo, el español Rafael Luque read more
    ...if you want to see the whole updated international paylist of the "King Saud University", take a brave look at their 2023 "International Conference and Exhibition for Science" all the resourceful 'scientrepeneurs' met together, including well-known faces who affiliated themselves with that 'extraordinary' Saudi institution while receiving their ordinary salaries from naive Spanish taxpayers... highlight of the conference was a future Nobel prize winner, to speak to this illustrious community of top Saudi scientists ...or to sum it up with Roman Emperor Vespasian: pecunia non olet El Salto (in Spanish):
    15.07.2019: Papers y más papers: las sombras en la industria de las publicaciones científicas read more

  • Hijacked Journals:
    10.11.2020 The Journal of Nanoparticle Research victim of an organized rogue editor network!, N. Pinna, G. Clavel, M. C. Roco, J. Nanopart. Res. 2020, 22, 376

  • Citation Gaming:
    05/2024: M. T. Rahman, Stop ‘scienocide’ with soulful scientific ventures read more
    03/2024: A. Bahamonde, P. Larrañaga, R. López de Mántaras, Contra la perversión del sistema de evaluación de la ciencia read more
    03/2024: D. Docampo, The Dark World of ‘Citation Cartels’read more
    05/2022: How citation cartels give ‘strategic scholars’ an advantage read more
    07/2016: Watch out for cheats in citation game read more
    06/2016: What do we know about journal citation cartels? read more
    08/2013: Brazilian citation scheme outed read more

  • Predatory Conferences:
    09/2023:The alarming rise of predatory conferences read more

    Blogs on Scientific Integrity

  • Retractionwatch
  • Science Integrity Digest
  • The Scholarly Kitchen
  • Research Integrity Archives
  • For Better Science
  • The Embassy of Good Science
  • Research Misconduct News
  • Science-Education-Research

    Essays & Perspectives on Scientific Integrity

  • Peer review is essential for science. Unfortunately, it’s broken., P. Sutter, 12.07.2024, read more
  • Designer Science – Why big brand journals harm research, D. Pattinson, G. Currie, 09.07.2024, read more
  • More is not better: the developing crisis of scientific publishing, G. Boulton, M. Koley, 02.07.2024, read more
  • How shameful should retraction be?, R. Richardson, 18.06.2024, read more
  • The case for criminalizing scientific misconduct, 17.06.2024, read more
  • Plagiarism, Paper Mills, and Profit: These Scientists Are Fighting the Epidemic of Fraudulent Research, S. Rahman, Analyst News read more
  • Paper Trail - In the latest twist of the publishing arms race, firms churning out fake papers have taken to bribing journal editors, F. Joelving, Science 2024, 383, 253
  • Citation Cartels in Medical and Dental Journals, S. J. A. Zaidi, M.Taqi, 06/2023, J Coll Physicians Surg Pak 2023, 33, 700
  • The Strain on Scientific Publishing, M. A. Hanson et al, 2023, arXiv.2309.15884
  • Who should take responsibility for integrity in research?, G. Gaskell et al, 2023, read more
  • A Role for Funders in Fostering China’s Research Integrity, L. Tang, Science 2022, 375, 979
  • To Err is Human; To Reproduce Takes Time, S. L. Scott et al, ACS Catal. 2022, 12, 6, 3644
  • Re-imagining Priorities for Chemistry: A Central Science for “Freedom from Fear and Want”, S. A. Matlin, A. Krief, H. Hopf, G. Mehta, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2021, 60, 25610
  • Realigning science, society and policy in uncertain times, G. Mehta, H. Hopf, A. Krief, S. A. Matlin, R. Soc. Open Sci. 2020, 7, 200554.
  • Blocking the Hype-Hypocrisy-Falsification-Fakery Pathway is Needed to Safeguard Science, H. Hopf, S. A. Matlin, G. Mehta, A. Krief, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2020, 59, 2150
  • Research integrity: nine ways to move from talk to walk, N. Mejlgaard et al, Nature 2020, 586, 358
  • Transparency in authors’ contributions and responsibilities to promote integrity in scientific publication, M. K. McNutt et al, PNAS 2018, 115, 2557
  • May university rankings help uncover problematic or fraudulent research?, P. Wauters, 2013 read more
  • They did a bad bad thing, Editorial Nat. Chem. 2011, 3, 337

    Scientific Self-Control

  • arguments for a Hippocratic Oath for Scientists, see the Wikipedia page

  • Barcelona Declaration on Open Research Information
  • EUChemS: Working Party on 'Ethics in Chemistry'
  • Scientific Misconduct and the Myth of Self-Correction in Science, W. Stroebe, T. Postmes, R. Spears, Perspect. Psychol. Sci. 2012, 7, 670
  • DORA: Initiative, based on the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (2013), read [addresses Individuals & Organizations]
  • COARA: Coalition for Advancing Research Assessment [addresses organizations]
  • Leiden Manifesto for Research Metrics (2015)
  • Hong Kong Principles for Assessing Researchers: Fostering Research Integrity (2020)
  • The International Science Council (ISC)
  • How Science Works (U. Berkeley)
  • PubPeer

    Guidelines of Good Scientific Practice

  • German Science Foundation [DFG]: Code of Conduct “Guidelines for Safeguarding Good Research Practice” read more
  • The European Code of Conduct for Research Integrity (Revised Edition), ALLEA 2023, Berlin
  • CSIC (Spain): Scientific Integrity and Good Practises read more
  • European Charter for Researchers read more
  • COPE: Committee on Publication Ethics read more
  • Scientific Integrity Principles and Best Practices: Recommendations from a Scientific Integrity Consortium, A Kretser et al, Sci. Eng. Ethics 2019, 25, 327

    Science & Society, Pseudoscience, Fake News

  • I. de Melo-Martín, K. Intemann, The Fight Against Doubt: How to Bridge the Gap Between Scientists and the Public, Oxford Academic, 2018
  • How the Scientific Method Invalidates “Fake News”, M. Carlton, L. Leininger, in: Teaching About Fake News: Lessons Plans for Different Disciplines and Audiences, (Ed.: C. Benjes-Small, C. Wittig, M. K. Oberlies). ACRL 2021. read more
  • Wiki Pseudociencias
  • Die Skeptiker (in German)

    Teaching Science Ethics

  • J. Mehlich, Good Chemistry: Methodological, Ethical, and Social Dimensions, RSC Publishing, 2021
  • M. Thomsen, Ethics Inside and Outside the Physics Lab; in: R. Iphofen (Ed.) Handbook of Research Ethics and Scientific Integrity, p. 937-954, Springer 2020
  • Webinar Good Chemistry - Do Chemists Need Ethics? (J. Mehlich)
  • The Ethical and Social Dimensions of Chemistry: Reflections, Considerations, and Clarifications, J. Mehlich, F. Moser, B. Van Tiggelen, L. Campanella, H. Hopf, Chem. Eur. J. 2017, 23, 1210
  • Ethics of Chemistry - From Poison Gas to Climate Engineering, J. Schummer and T. Børsen (Eds), World Scientific, 2021
  • Ethics in Science - Ethical Misconduct in Scientific Research, J. D'Angelo, CRC Press, 2018
  • Scientific norms and ethical misconduct: research towards the design of a course in scientific ethics, A. M. Verdan, J. T. Ingallinera, G. Bhattacharyya, Chem. Educ. Res. Pract., 2010, 11, 118
  • Teaching Scientific Ethics Using the Example of Hendrik Schön, B. J. Feldman, US-China Education Review A 2012, 4, 418

    Science on Science

    Falsification & Fabrication

  • Research Misconduct—Definitions, Manifestations and Extent (Review), L. Bornmann, Publications 2013, 1, 87
  • The Demographics of Deception: What Motivates Authors Who Engage in Misconduct?, R. Grant Steen, Publications 2014, 2, 44
  • How Many Scientists Fabricate and Falsify Research? A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Survey Data, D. Fanelli, Plos One 2009, 4, e5738


  • The limitations of retraction notices and the heroic acts of authors who correct the scholarly record: An analysis of retractions of papers published from 1975 to 2019, Q.-H. Vuong, Learned Publishing 2020, 33, 119
  • Correcting the Scientific Record: Retraction Practices in Chemistry and Materials Science, F.-X. Coudert, Chem. Mater. 2019, 31, 10, 3593
  • Analysis of Retracted Manuscripts in Chemistry: Errors vs Misconduct, Y. Sevryugina, R. Jimenez, ACS Omega 2023, 8, 31568


  • Intellectual contributions meriting authorship: Survey results from the top cited authors across all science categories, G. S. Patience, F. Galli, P. A. Patience, D. C. Boffito, PLoS ONE 2019, 14, e019811

    Scientific Production

  • The strain on scientific publishing, M. A. Hanson, P. Gómez Barreiro, P. Crosetto, D. Brockington, read more
  • Research groups: How big should they be?, I. Cook, S. Grange, A. Eyre-Walker, PeerJ 2015, 3, e989


  • What a database of more than a thousand dismissive literature reviews can tell us, read more
  • Evolution of number of citations per article in Materials Science: possible causes and effect on the impact factor of journals, A. M. Ariza-Guerrero, J. S. Blázquez, Scientometrics 2023, 128, 6589
  • Citation Ethics: An Exploratory Survey of Norms and Behaviors, S. V. Bruton, A. L. Macchione, M. Brown, M. Hosseini, J. Acad. Ethics 2024
  • Growth in the number of references in engineering journal papers during the 1972–2013 period, I. Ucar, F. López-Fernandino, P. Rodriguez-Ulibarri, L. Sesma-Sanchez, V. Urrea-Micó, J. Sevilla, Scientometrics 2014, 98, 1855
  • Ten simple rules for responsible referencing, B. Penders, PLoS Comput Biol 2018, 14, e1006036
  • Literary runaway: Increasingly more references cited per academic research article from 1980 to 2019, C. Dai, Q. Chen, T. Wan, F. Liu, Y. Gong, Q. Wang, PLoS ONE 16(8): e0255849

    Citation Gaming: Cartels, Mills, Fake

  • What Do Citations Count? The Rhetoric-First Model, Se. E. Cozzens, Scientometrics 1989, 15, 437
  • Toward the Discovery of Citation Cartels in Citation Networks, I. Fister Jr., I. Fister, M. Perc, Front. Phys. 2016, 4, 49
  • Detecting anomalous citation groups in journal networks, S. Kojaku, G. Livan, N. Masuda, Sci. Reports 2021, 11, 14524
  • Google Scholar is manipulatable H. Ibrahim, F. Liu, Y. Zaki, T. Rahwan,
  • Inaccurate citation, citation cartels, fake citations, citation of retracted papers: why research integrity needs citation integrity, J. Schneider, H. Kilicoglu, U. Illinois, read more
  • Revealed: The inner workings of a paper mill read more

    Publishing Metrics

  • Some thoughts on transparency of the data and analysis behind the Highly Cited Researchers list, A.-M. Klein, N. Kranke, Scientometrics 2023, 128, 6773
  • Over-optimization of academic publishing metrics: observing Goodhart’s Law in action, M. Fire, C. Guestrin, GigaScience 2019, 8, 1
  • The Scientometric Bubble Considered Harmful, M. Fire, C. Guestrin, Eng Ethics 2016, 22, 227

    Editorial Misconduct

  • Editorial Misconduct—Definition, Cases, and Causes (Review), M. Shelomi, Publications 2014, 2, 51

    Reviewer Misconduct

  • Emerging plagiarism in peer-review evaluation reports: a tip of the iceberg?, M. Piniewski, I. Jaric, D. Koutsoyiannis, Z. W. Kundzewicz, Scientometrics 2024, in print

    Publication Business on Public Costs

  • Beyond the journal: The future of scientific publishing, B. Johnson, 28.06.2024, read more
  • The money behind academic publishing, read more
  • Who are the 100 largest scientific publishers by journal count? A webscraping approach, A. Nishikawa-Pacher, J. Documentation 2022, 78, 450
  • An open dataset of article processing charges from six large scholarly publishers (2019-2023), L.-A. Butler, M. Hare, N. Schönfelder, E. Schares, J. P. Alperin, S. Haustein, read more

    Research Projects on Scientific Misconduct

  • DFG Project: Summa cum fraude, and project description
  • ERC Project: NanoBubbles, dedicated on "how, when and why science fails to correct itself"

    Glossary of Scientific Misconduct come