“It’s wrong to force people to lie,” he said, adding that the issue is one of research integrity.
Andler explained that such dishonesty could take two main forms. In one, researchers flesh out funding applications with details of activities they have already completed. In the other, they exaggerate the likely impact of their work to make their research seem more relevant to funders.
Robert Winston, broadcaster, Labour peer and professor of fertility at Imperial College London, described a phenomenon he calls “the science delusion”, where scientists approve of their work being marketed as much more important and influential than is actually the case. As an example, he cited the mapping of the human genome, which has not lived up to expectations that it would, for instance, revolutionise our ability to manage diseases.
“Scientists need to be more modest,” he said, explaining that two worrying consequences of these tendencies are that scientists permit their work to be overhyped and fail to admit that they have emotional biases that can influence their science.
The comments were made in presentations at SciTech Europe, an event held in Brussels on 22 November."