Fraud, competition, etc

Alexander Berezin berezin at MCMAIL.CIS.MCMASTER.CA
Tue Jul 18 09:50:24 EST 1995

On Mon, 17 Jul 1995, alex taylor wrote:

> 	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.

CLARIFICATION (for those USA colleauges, who may not know):
Arthurs' report was an inquiry on the fraud allegations of
his colleaugues by Prof.Valery Fabrikant of Concordia Univ.,
Montreal who in August 1992 has MURDERED 4 other professors
in the culmination of "research competition" feods. While
nobody, of course, justifies Fabrikant's action, the
Arthurs' report has concluded that much of the Fabrikant's
allegations (consistently ignored by the administation)
were, in fact, quite valid.  

To what extent this tragedy can be seen as rooted in the
viciously competitive funding policies remains a matter 
of opinion.    

> 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.

Yes, they will be approximately as effective and/or
meaningful as the "Moral Code of the Builders of the
Communism" adopted by (whatever # ?) Congress of the
KPSS (Comm.Party of Sov.Union).

"TRI-COUNCIL": 3 of Canadian Federal Research funding
NSERC: Natural Sciences and Engineering (analogue of NSF)
MRC: Medical Res.Council (analogue of NIH)
SSHRC: Social Sci. and Humanities (analgue of what ?)
The policy of tri-council is BASED on a secretive
"peer review" and the total lack of any serious
accountability of the system before the members of the
research community. To claim "research integrity", etc.
by the system based on a SECRECY is a fundamental 
logical contradiction of terms, a misnomer. It can't
deliver what it claims ("excellence", "innovation",
"risk-taking", etc) EVEN "IN PRINCIPLE", even if the
Funding Committees will composed solely from
angels and/or Nobel Prize laureates.

Alex Berezin

> Alex Taylor
> ataylor at

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