Scientific Fraud: Misconduct and the Ethics of Experts

Ref: C3531838

Using ideas developed by Thomas Kuhn one way to analyse the similarities and differences between the natural and social sciences is by way of how easy or difficult 'scientific misconduct' is and the limitations of possibility for misconduct. 'Misconduct' here is the intention to deceive people via misrepresenting data or events, which we might loosely define as 'fraud'. I will argue that the types of 'fraud' allowed in the natural sciences are different to those found in the social sciences mirrored by the types of expertise required to mask 'fiction' (a false account or misrepresentation) as 'fact' (established scientfiic phenomena). We are delivering this Christmas Lecture using Zoom. We will email, a few days before, the link to join the lecture with details of how to access Zoom if you should need it.

Course aim

It will be argued that the disctinction between science and non-science is much more difficult to discern when one considers 'scientific miscounduct' and the expertise required to mask fiction as fact.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • You will need to be able to follow links to join our WEA live video learning platform: WEA Zoom. If you’d like to understand more about our video learning platform, Zoom please visit: and
  • No skills or experience needed

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • Describe one example of scientific misconduct
  • Assess the relationship between 'misconduct' and 'expertise'.
  • Use tecnhical terms correctly

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • A range of informal activities will be used by the tutor to see what you are learning which may include quizzes, question and answer, small projects and discussion

What else do I need to know?

  • What you need: You will need an internet connection, speakers, a microphone and a webcam so that you can use our video learning platform, Zoom. If you’d like to understand more Zoom please visit:

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading or pre course work is required

What can I do next?

Download full course information sheet

Scientific Fraud: Misconduct and the Ethics of Experts


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