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Ross Stein, On Scientific Temptation, Transgression, and Fraud: Three Personal Stories

Thursday, Oct 10, 2019 12:00 PM
Mitchell 350/372
Faculty/Staff, Students, Alumni/Friends
Geophysics Department

Ross Stein

Geophysics, Stanford University

On Scientific Temptation, Transgression, and Fraud: Three Personal Stories

Host: Paul Segall (

I am going to tell you three very different stories from my career, with my own role and shortcomings in these conflicts unconcealed, and after each I am going to seek your views. What to do when you see fraud, assessing if it is intentional or accidental, and trying to decide whether to contact the author, journal or the author's institution, are all tough decisions. The personal risks of trying to expose or correct fraud are extremely high, particularly if you are a coauthor or a student, but often even if you are not. I will argue that fraud is slippery and gradational, not black and white. What’s essential is to be alert in our own work to the temptation to make the ambiguous unequivocal, and to remember that our job is to build and destroy our theses before the eyes of our readers.

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