Miscounduct and Grantsmanship

U27111 at uicvm.uic.edu U27111 at uicvm.uic.edu
Tue Jan 2 02:49:17 EST 1996

Here's another followup to this thread being posting in the aids

From: gmc0 at ix.netcom.com (George M. Carter)
Newsgroups: misc.health.aids
Subject: Re: Cross-over discussion on Misconduct
Date: Thu, 28 Dec 1995 14:37:41 GMT

<U27111 at uicvm.uic.edu> wrote:

>There's currently a bit of an 'intellectual' discussion going on
>in a bionet newsgroup on misconduct and grantsmanship.  It's
>mostly going on among people within the 'Scientific Establishment'
>and I thought it would be interesting to hear what people, of whom
>some of this may effect(?), would have to say on the subject.

An interesting debate---but it conflates a number of issues.

First question:  should people be punished for fraud?  YES!!
Otherwise, there is no disincentive for misconduct of this kind.
The next question is HOW.  Frankly, that answer undoubtedly depends
on the seriousness of the fraud.  Some cases, like Gallo's
irreproducible results with SP-PG in mice resulted in people being
treated with this drug for KS.  Yet the animal studies were
probably fraudulently done! This has a direct effect on people's
lives.  And as such, I feel this is quite possibly a case for the
criminal courts.  Such should be used where the evidence is strong

Other methods like those described seem rather wishy-washy.  Fraud
should not be tolerated.  Better guidelines need to be established
and the ORI strengthened.  The prosecution should possibly be
conducted by a separate organization as suggested in a recent
Science article.  The similarities to all-civilian (police)
complaint review boards should be considered since the potential
for whitewashing is too real.

Cut throat competitive practices and "industrialization" of science
is another issue altogether.  People should be rewarded for
excellent work--regardless whether the results are positive or
negative.  I.e., if well conducted studies disprove a point,
congratulations!  You have been conducting science!!  Even if it
doesn't turn into a profit generating experiment.  How to deal with
this issue, though, I don't know.

Regarding peer review--here again is a completely other ball of wax
that is beyond the scope of this note!

I hope these ideas help some.

                        George M. Carter

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