Author: Tanaka Sigeto (Tohoku University)
Scientific research uses highly complex theory and technical methodology, which can be difficult for non-professionals to understand. Thus, if professionals make an unscientific policy recommendation using fake evidence, it will be difficult for the public to screen such an inauthentic proposal.
This happened in 2010s Japan. Obstetricians and gynecologists created data to show how rapidly women's fecundity decreases along with their increasing age by fabricating, falsifying, and cherry-picking results from studies of biology, medicine, demography, and psychology. Based on those questionable data, they and their organizations carried on a campaign for early marriage and childbearing. The campaign aroused public attention and influenced the government to introduce a new pronatalist policy in March 2015 that aimed at early marriage. Although there are many defects in the data that served as evidence for the policy, these defects had not been properly scrutinized at that time. In August 2015, a newspaper first reported faulty data on women's fecundity, which was being used in a high school textbook to encourage early pregnancy. Criticism subsequently grew, leading to the discovery of many questionable data used during the campaign. However, it was too late to challenge the hegemony of the discourse already established.
This scandal yields lessons in the importance of protecting democracy against fake science. This paper addresses two topics. First, we need a system that allows non-professionals to review scientific literature to conduct fact-checks of the evidence presented by professionals. Second, our review system should be ready for real-time checking of newly emerging discourses. My observation of the scandal carries suggestions about a concrete case of fake science and how we can rebuff it. (See http://tsigeto.info/misconduct/ for details.)
Keywords: Fertility; State, family and population; Gender
Conference: International Sociological Association (ISA), RC06/RC41 Joint Conference: Changing Demography / Changing Families (May 2018, Singapore)
Status: Rejected [2017-12-22]
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- 11月30日（月）シンポジウム「高校保健・副教材にみる専門家の倫理と責任―データ改ざんと出産誘導」(東京ウィメンズプラザ) (2015-11-30)
- A Spider's-Eye View of National Sociologies: Web 2.0 Technologies to Go Beyond Borders (ISA Forum of Sociology, 2016 Vienna) (under review) (2015-09-30)
- Dynamics of Ideology and Institution: Probable Scenarios for Changes in Beliefs about Gender and Family in Japan (ISA Forum of Sociology, 2016 Vienna) 2016-07-11 (2015-09-30)
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- Maintaining diversity in policy-oriented research (第88回日本社会学会大会 2015-09 報告申込、審査中) (2015-06-08)
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