Lab Certification - Summary

Andrew Andrew
Sun Jul 2 13:32:48 EST 1995

The 6/23/95 issue of Science has some articles on "Conduct in Science" 
which should interest participants in this discussion thread.  In short 
the point is made that conflicts between the need for researchers to work 
together in groups and the drive for individual glory have been 
responsible for significant delays in scientific advances.

Convenient access to a WWW reprint of these articles can be had at:

The stance that the certification of labs and their personnel will ensure 
cost-effective valid research is naive.  Unethical persons are just as 
capable of becoming certified as sincere persons.  There is no 
examination, no professional society, no certification bureaucracy that is 
going to tell you a priori that a researcher or technician is inclined to 
fabricate data and pass it off as genuine if significant gains can be 
obtained.  Certification would be a big waste of money.  I am more 
inclined to believe the results of a researcher who I know to be honest 
than one with lots of diplomas/certificates but doubtful sincerity.     

Instead, just as ethics in taught in medicine, it should also be taught to 
graduate students and post-docs.  Principal investigators (mentors) must 
be exemplary in their conduct both in the sharing of credit and in the 
pursuit of research excellence because they serve as examples of proper 
behavior for junior scientists.  Those that fall short should be summarily 

Andrew B. Chung
Internal Medicine Resident
Emory University Department of Medicine

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