Misconduct...reply to Kathy

U27111 at uicvm.uic.edu U27111 at uicvm.uic.edu
Fri Dec 22 19:08:14 EST 1995

tivol at news.wadsworth.org (William Tivol) wrote:

>U27111 at uicvm.uic.edu wrote:

>: All I do know is that this idea of teaching more courses in
>: ethics [as proposed in July's issue of Science on misconduct]...
>: that this is not the answer.  Again, it's liking spitting to put
>: out a fire.

>        You are correct that teaching ethics courses is not the
>answer, but I think it can be *a part of* the answer.  What needs
>correcting, as you and many other posters have pointed out, is the
>attitude of the scientific community at large.  Alex's point about
>the destructive nature of cut-throat competition is also well

I honestly don't think most people in the scientific community even
knows the definition of ethical behavior... let alone be able to
teach it?

And I'm not just slamming here... I mean it.

I highly doubt people in our community knows the difference...
especially when the Gallo's are looked upon as some kind of hero?


>        When each of us started out, the ideal of science as a
>search for the truth motivated us to get into the field.  Your
>experience--as you have said before--motivated you to get out.  If
>ethics was taught at the start, and *if unethical behavior was
>seen to be counterproductive*, then the scientific community has
>a chance to propagate ethical behavior.

I think you mean if ethical behavior was taught and cut-throat
competition was erased?

Because it truly does go hand in hand.  Otherwise... unethical
behavior does have the 'appearance' of being productive - it brings
in monies.

>       In order for this to occur, unethical behavior must not be
>rewarded, and there must be obvious, observable benefits to
>behaving ethically.  Instead of whistle-blowers being blackballed
>and whistle-blowees being moved up to positions of ever-higher
>prestige, those shown to have committed misconduct should be
>(depending upon the seriousness of the offense) either jailed for
>outright fraud, barred from grant funding for a period of time
>in the case of serious misconduct which materially affected their
>work, or reprimanded for such minor offences as plagerizing their
>own work (using the same Introduction and Materials & Methods
>sections verbatum, rather than referrencing the earliest paper),
>etc.  Some examples where this kind of thing actually occurred
>would add impact to an ethics course, and, even more, if this was
>seen throughout one's career, an attitude adjustment is a very
>possible outcome.

Well... all I can say is I would believe this if I saw Gallo *not*
get his new institute.

Otherwise... it's beginning to feel as hopeless as watching OJ

And there really aren't that much difference between the two...
neither one has any regard for human life (other then their own)?

This is depressing.  I going to make some nut roll.

Have a Happy Holidays to all and see you after X-mas.


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