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Misrepresentation: Fabrication, Falsification, and Omission 

Ethical and Legal Considerations

Annette Flanagin

Misrepresentation: Fabrication, Falsification, and Omission

Fabrication, falsification, and omission are forms of misrepresentation in scientific publication. Fabrication includes stating or presenting a falsehood and making up data, results, or “facts” that do not exist. Falsification includes manipulation of materials or processes, changing data or results, or altering the graphic display of data or digital images in a manner that results in misrepresentation (see also 5.4.3, Inappropriate Manipulation of Digital Images). Omission is the act of deliberately not reporting certain information for a desired outcome. Data fabrication, falsification, and omission occur when an investigator or author creates, alters, manipulates, selects, or presents selected or fails to report selected information for a desired outcome that distorts the interpretation of the original data, the research record, or the truth.11-14

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