Dishonest scientists can mislead other researchers, stain their institutions' reputations, waste taxpayers' money, and sometimes even endanger the public. Occasionally researchers may falsify data in an effort to make their studies more exciting or plausible. Compounding this problem (which, in addition to publication stress, also has financial roots - large medical school debts to repay) is the reticence with which fraudulent practices are brought to public view. Scientists who suspect colleagues of fraud often turn a blind eye as they fear tarnishing their institution's standing, being blackballed by colleagues, and possible defamation lawsuits brought by the accused.
Fraudulent authorship is often the product of the highly competitive world of science. Researchers under great pressure to publish papers may ultimately resort to plagiarism and data faking. Grants and promotions are largely based upon publication productivity, thus it is an accepted practice for senior researchers to co-sign subordinates' studies, even though they may not know much about the data. This co-signing helps younger researchers to publish their research and boosts the publication numbers of their bosses. In addition to flagrant fraud, the practice of co-signing when one has done no research on the study involved, is another form of fraud. Senior researchers should be held accountable for any publications they sign their names to.
In 1993, a key US AIDS researcher was found guilty of scientific misconduct for failing to reveal that his laboratory had grown a French version of the virus that causes AIDS (LAV), and in so doing impeded potential AIDS-research progress with LAV.
It has been alleged that initial reports on evidence of the polar ozone hole were discredited by undertaking research deliberately designed to be unable to detect the reported phenomenon.