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Scientific Misconduct: Part 4 - The Costs of Hubris (cont'd)

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Not Everyone Is a Crook

Another member of the Symposium panel was Professor Barbara Hansen, director of the Obesity and Diabetes Research Center at the University of Maryland, Baltimore. The Newsletter reported that Professor Hansen began her panel lecture with a quiz for investigators. Apparently, the purpose of Professor Hansen's quiz was to frighten members of the audience by intimating that they were all engaged in practices that would fall under the definition of misconduct used by PHS (42 CFR  50.102).

"Have you published or do you expect to publish all of the research data you have collected?"

The correct wording is, "Do you make all of your data collected in connection with published results available to the scientific community?" Is there anyone who thinks a scientist has the right to make a subjective determination about the lack of relevance of a research datum which does not support the scientist's conclusions, selectively withhold data and publicize the rest, without making clear the selection criteria and that all of the original data is available for examination? Why risk making what you know to be an interpretation that may later be discredited when someone else duplicates the unreported data? It's not only bad science; it's dumb.

"Have you ever gotten a suggestion or idea for your research from a verbal comment (either in a lecture or directly to you) that you did not acknowledge in a later report of the research?"

Perhaps failing to give credit where credit is due is natural for one of the ambitious, self-serving opportunists referred to by Professor Schachman, but it cannot be defended as good science. In fact, failure to credit those who deserve credit, objectively and without fail, deters sharing suggestions and ideas--the life blood of science.

"Have you ever appeared, or do you expect to appear, as a collaborator/coauthor of a report for which there was a portion of the data not collected by you personally, and in which you did not personally see the original raw data?"

Only a fool would permit her or his name to be associated with data s/he had not seen; the public has the right to deny grant support to fools.

Next -- Facing the Real Issues
Previous -- Should Scientists Get Special Treatment?

 


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