Yup, working on the holidays really drives home that point that we work in a vacuum, and nobody cares.
While I love that it's quiet right now, I feel like the tree falling in the forest. If my experiments work or don't work, will anybody notice that I was here?
It's not like I get any credit for working hard unless I have data figures in hand, and even then nobody is impressed by how hard I had to work to get them.
This brings me back as usual to my conundrum about how our acceptance of the scientific method demands that we trust each other's results. But we also have to trust our own. And we have to test, test, test to see what's really true.
I'm thinking about this because I had another disturbing run-in with one of the people that I'm pretty sure is using what I would consider unethical methods to manipulate his data.
In this case it was very clear that he was lying, although I've learned there's no point in trying to confront him about it. That and I was so stunned by his blatant untruths that I didn't think fast enough to call him out on the spot (for once there would have been an actual witness, although not anyone with any power).
This run-in also confirmed that he is not above allowing, if not outright encouraging other people to misinterpret his data. Especially if it works out in his favor (and they don't go so far as to try to repeat his experiments).
So I was talking to a friend about my suspicions and he said, "Yeah, but what would be the point of him doing that?"
All I could come up with was "He just wants the attention?" If people mistakenly believe his data to be better than they are, he gets lots of positive feedback and opportunities he would otherwise miss out on.
I guess this all just comes back to the question of, if nobody is looking, and there are no rewards for being careful and honest, how often are people really faking it? I've never seen any statistics on what percentage of reports in Pubmed turn out to be false. I just really want to see this guy get caught.