The purpose of this article is to review and discuss the occurrence of fraud in biomedical research and analyze the definition, origin, and various forms of scientific misconduct. Fraud in research most often involves reporting data for which no records of experiment or population are present; manipulating research materials, equipment, or procedures to arrive at the desirable result; adding, changing, or omitting results, which positively or negatively relate to the hypothesis that the research intends to test; and incorporating ideas, statements, procedures of others’ work without permission and appropriate credit to the source. The etiologic factors contributing to this deviant behavior, and measures taken by relevant bodies to eliminate this phenomenon are discussed. Ethical and integrity aspects of craniofacial research are explored and a set of criteria to facilitate rigorous assessment of the integrity of clinical and basic research protocols is proposed. These include (1) an integrity-focused training of researchers to adhere to specific laboratory procedure and tactics which discourage fraud; (2) appointment of external reviewers to detect unusual and suspicious experimental process or data patterns; and (3) encouragement of multicenter trials. Although it is widely recognized that the sole determinant of scientific misconduct is the individual investigator’s integrity, a number of precautions may effectively reduce the prevalence of this event, which may affect the status and trends of biomedical research in general.
World J Orthod 2005;6:226–232.