There is moaning, wailing and gnashing of teeth on Facebook this morning by political scientists who are troubled by Donald Green‘s request to Science to retract a co-authored article of his that it recently published. Political scientists are expressing concerns along the lines that this is horrible for the discipline, and so on. They are wrong. The detection of fraud is always good. Full stop.
Let’s consider a case that genuinely warranted such concern: the use of the seal of the state of Montana in a mailer sent to voters in a get out the vote experiment. The problem with the decision to use the seal is that it was politically tone deaf, drew the ire of elected officials, and played into the hands of anti-science legislators. Detection of academic fraud is none of these things.
If that’s the case, then why all the concern about this being bad…
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