S. Popov: All of these factors, which were, kind of... which limited information exchange, changed the usual, well-established scientific process, prevented publication of research results and so on and so forth... Everything that was a part of the atmosphere of secrecy had a pernicious effect on the quality of scientific research. However, as is always the case in regular... in matters having to do with human relations, such factors did not become apparent right away. But as time passed, it became clear that, basically, the system was utterly doomed. It got to the point where people started falsifying results. And really, why not? If no one is going to hear about the results, if the superviser is the only one who is going to know about the results, and the superviser, of course, wants good results, then what's the point of making an effort? Why not just write down what they want to hear? So, a lot of people, approaching things logically, simply falsified results. They didn't even need to falsify, in fact: often they would take a journal published in the West, translate from English what they needed, buff it up a little, then it was all labelled
"classified," and no one ever found out about it except a few commissions that came out to check on project implementation. On the other hand...
Slava Paperno: Is this an incident from your own life?
Popov: It absolutely is. This... I never falsified results, but we knew who was doing it. There were people who did it. It was apparent to the naked eye, even, when, let's say, someone didn't feel like counting bacterial colonies. You know, there are a lot of those colonies in the Petri dishes. It's really wearisome and unpleasant to count them. So people would just write "one thousand" or "ten thousand," or "two... two hundred thousand." And when you saw... saw such count results, it was clear that somebody wasn't doing any counting.
Paperno: In a transparent scientific process, that would have been impossible. Why?
Popov: It's just that in a transparent scientific process, colleagues would have immediately exposed the fakery. Colleagues would have immediately put a stop to such activity, and it would have been impossible to publish that kind of results. You would be a laughingstock if you published such results in a serious scientific journal.