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On Fact and Fraud:
Cautionary Tales from the Front Lines of Science
David Goodstein

Book Description | Table of Contents
Chapter 1 [in PDF format]


"Offers a useful and lucid account of different examples of scientific fraud or misconduct, and describes the motivations or risk factors."--Federal Technology Watch

"A genial guide, [Goodstein] shows that sometimes the deciding line between fact, self-delusion and outright fraud is hard to spot."--Peter Forbes, The Independent

"This excellent little book . . . challenges some of the conventional notions of where the line lies that separates good from bad or real from phony science."--Harry Eagar, Maui News

"Sadly for science, not all fraudsters get caught. For starters, David Goodstein says, serious misconduct isn't always easy to identify. Self-deception, an ends-justifying-means mentality and concealing controversial research can muddy the ethical waters. Goodstein, head of the fraud squad at Pasadena's California Institute of Technology, claims it's possible to set up protocols to reduce faking, fabrication and plagiarism."--Leigh Dayton, Australian

"This short book, written by an insider, challenges the reader on the nature and ethics of scientific endeavour."--Tony Stubbings, Chemistry World

"On Fact and Fraud is a much larger story than the book's brief number of pages suggest. Writer and physicist Goodstein fully describes components necessary for fraudulent science and provides fascinating case studies illustrating a variety of nuances to the major thesis. He carefully constructs chapters to reveal personalities, circumstances, and evidence behind claims of fraud. . . . This cautionary tale will beguile readers while providing a basis to assess future claims."--Choice

"[T]his short but lucidly written book, enlivened by subtle wit, does far more than recounting cases of fraud. It throws an insider's light on the nature of scientific endeavor, which is rather different from the way outsiders often portray it. While some passages require specialist knowledge, the general message is clear and so the work can be appreciated by lay readers with an interest in science."--Gustav Jahoda, Metapsychology Online Reviews

"Goodstein's book really shines as an insider's perspective of how science works in the nitty-gritty, hardscrabble, competitive world of professional research."--Michael Shermer, American Journal of Physics

"This volume is essential for anyone interested in the history of science in Norway and in the history of Trondheim, but it also offers excellent material for comparison with other scientific societies in Europe and elsewhere during the last 250 years."--Karl Grandin, ISIS


"Bracing reading. On Fact and Fraud is important because it combines a considered ethical stance and an analysis of the conditions under which fraud takes place with recognition of the all-too-real difficulties of handling, under pressure, hard-to-reproduce effects. This is a smart, deft book by someone deeply familiar with the moral and ethical complexities in contemporary science."--Peter Galison, Harvard University

"The success and credibility of science is anchored in a culture of complete openness. For more than twenty years, Caltech physicist David Goodstein has been on the front lines defending that culture against attacks of fraud and self-delusion. In this tightly written book, he shares insights drawn from cases that have shaken the physical sciences."--Robert L. Park, author of Superstition: Belief in the Age of Science

"This is a superb book. Goodstein not only discusses the subject in an accessible way, but his thoughts are refreshing to a working physicist such as me, one who has wrestled with many of these issues. It will be the definitive book on the subject. I know of nothing that competes. Goodstein is clearly an expert."--Richard A. Muller, University of California, Berkeley

"This book includes considerable material of interest. On Fact and Fraud offers an interesting read for anyone who has a career focus on these topics."--Michael W. Kalichman, director of the Research Ethics Program at the University of California, San Diego

"Goodstein's important book explores how science is really done, and distinguishes itself from other books on the topic in that it is a story told from the inside, by a physicist. Goodstein examines the structure of the entire enterprise, from the motivations of individual scientists, to the reward system, to the corridors of power. Along the way, he destroys a number of popular and enduring myths."--Anthony Tyson, University of California, Davis

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File created: 4/21/2017

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