Quality Assurance in Medical and Scientific Research

Public Interest Medical Politics Medicine Antibodies History of Science The large literature on research misconduct is itself for the most part unscientific, so that proposals for action based upon it are unlikely to help and indeed may stifle research. Once the real problems and failings are understood better solutions become apparent, viz: recognise the provisional nature of all science; make all authors responsible for the whole content of their published work; make each original paper explicitly subject to review by external assessors should concerns be raised about it in retrospect; and following that, if necessary, annotate the published work in a manner that allows every enquirer to learn its current status. In this way the scientific record would be updated and corrected where needed and made publicly available in its corrected state. These four simple rules and procedures would strongly discourage many of the bad practices which actually do exist, expose malefactors to consequences matched to their wrongdoing, without time limit, protect the rights of the oppressed, enhance accuracy of the scientific record and render unnecessary any other methods of quality assurance.