Lab Certification - Summary

alex taylor ataylor at
Mon Jul 17 16:55:58 EST 1995

In article <95197.220428U27111 at>,  <U27111 at> wrote:
>anon1167 at (M) wrote on 15 Jul 1995 16:16:36 -0600:
>>In article <gregoryh-0607951350540001 at>,
>>Gregory R. Harriman <gregoryh at> wrote:
>I'm sorry... but my reader does not have this followup referenced.
>Can you send it to me?  Thanks in advance.
>>>having our universities, medical schools and other institutions
>>>do a better job of teaching students what is proper behavior and
>>>what is not. Faculty and scientists need to teach by example.
>>>The changes need to come at the local level not at the federal
>>Hm, I think most people know that research fraud is not acceptable
>>behavior.  Maybe we need to restructure the pay-off for fraud.
>>Considering the number of people vying for jobs, grant funding,
>>etc., the incentive to fudge research results "just this once" is
>>just too high.
>Well... I think there are 'some' laws against this already in the
>books.  But the problem in the Gallo case, for example, was that by
>the time everything was put under investigation... the status of
>limitations have expired (thus why the FBI dropped their probe).
>Why Poisson and Fisher have not been charged with anything
>(criminally wise)... I don't know.  The fact that not only was some
>data falsified, but something like over 500 patient consent forms
>are missing... is this criminal?

	Fraud is a major problem in the life sciences and in engineering.
Until the sociological underpinnings of the phenomena are addressed it is
unlikely that laws -- which tend to reflect public desires rather than
lead by example, are going to be of any use. Furthermore it is unlikely
that they would even be enforcable. The Arthurs' report (available from
Concordia) described how entrenched some of the "research integrity"
problems are and how invisible they can often be. I think that the earlier
poster was quite right in stating that the funding structure will have to
be addressed, and, I would guess probably the graduate school process as
well. It is probable that a similar analysis could be applied to codes of
conduct for research integrity (such as those being developed at the
behest of the tri-council in Canada) -- they will in all likelihood turn
out to be ineffectual.

Alex Taylor
ataylor at

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