Nicholas Wade reports in today's NY Times on the release of a panel report detailing ways in which the journal Science can improve its measures for preventing fraudulent research reporting on the level of the now-infamous case of the 2004 article in which Dr. Hwang Woo-suk claimed to have grown stem-cells from an adult human cell. The text of the panel report and a response from the editor of Science, as well as other documents involving the Hwang case, are here.
After only a cursory reading of the documents, I couldn't help but note this passage, the first of the panel's suggestions:
There should be a formal, required 'risk assessment' for papers that have been selected for publication. This assessment would be a new procedure, and would explicitly ask questions about the probability that the work might be intentionally deceptive, or just wrong, and the consequences for the reputation of Science and science, and for other issues (public policy, intellectual property, academic credit). Papers that are likely to have high visibility, for example in climate, energy, human health, etc., should get special scrutiny.I was pleased to see how well this suggestion comports with my claim that scientific practice is self-regulating to the extent that those purported discoveries with greater practical import will receive correspondingly greater scrutiny, as argued in this blog here and here.