Ashutosh Jogalekar has an excellent post -- Fraud in a Glass of Wine: The Dipak Das Case -- on research misconduct by the UConn researcher Dipak Das.
Das has been at the university since 1984 and got tenure in 1993, so it’s curious why he decided to fabricate results in the last decade or so. I am quite ready to believe that his work on the complex effects of resveratrol on disease may have run into roadblocks, prompting him to start making up results that he wanted to see but which he didn’t. Most research these days and especially biomedical research is a complex game. In some ways we are trying to bite off more than we can chew. In such cases wishful thinking can dominate, and when expected results don’t pan out because of the complexity of the system under consideration, it becomes easier to succumb to desperation and temptation. The resveratrol story may fit into this paradigm, with initial reports suggesting a tantalizingly simple connection between the drugs and aging and more recent reports questioning this connection. Yet again, nature is not just more complex than we imagine, but it is more complex than we can imagine.