3 Examples of Misconduct Ptolemy may have copied sky charts2. Paul Kammerer (1920s) faked breeding results in toads using India inkSponsored Programs
4 + + Examples of Misconduct 3. William T. Summerlin (1970s) faked results of skin transplants on mice with a black felt-tip pen4. ( ) Dr. Woo Suk Hwang of South Korea was found guilty of research misconduct5. (2006) Jon SudbØ falsified data in clinical research and reported funding from a non-existent grant++Sponsored Programs
5 Scientific FraudThere are many examples of published studies or report that have been later found incorrect, misleading, or fraudulent.These are always detected, eventually due to the scientific method and peer review.The net effect is loss of time, resources, and public mistrust.Significant recent examples:MMR Vaccine / Autism studySpeed of Himalayan glacier meltingHuman stem cell cloning study5
9 What is Research Misconduct? “Fabrication, falsification, or plagiarism inproposing, performing, or reviewing research,or in reporting research results”OSTP Definition
10 OSTPThe Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) is an office in the Executive Office of the President (EOP), established by United States Congress on May 11, 1976, with a broad mandate to advise the President on the effects of science and technology on domestic and international affairs.
11 Fabrication is making up data or results and recording or reporting them. Falsification is manipulating research materials, equipment, or processes, or changing or omitting data or results such that the research is not accurately represented in the research record.Plagiarism is the appropriation of another person’s ideas, processes, results, or words without giving appropriate credit
12 Research misconduct does not include honest differences of opinion
13 Be “proven by a preponderance of evidence.” Legal ParametersRepresent a “significant departure from accepted practices”Have been “committed intentionally, or knowingly, or recklessly”Be “proven by a preponderance of evidence.”
14 Not in the OSTP Misconduct Definition, but Sometimes Included in Institutional Definitions Violation of Federal rulesAbuse of confidentialityAuthorship or publication violationsFailure to report misconductObstruction of misconduct investigationRetaliation against whistleblowers
15 Actions That Are Not Misconduct Sexual HarassmentMisuse of funds (financial fraud)Gross negligence of persons in their professional dutiesVandalism (including tampering with experiments andinstructionsViolations of research responsibility (animals, DNA)Whistle-blowingCover-up of misconductMalicious allegations
16 Questionable Research Practices (Not Scientific Misconduct) 1. Failing to retain significant research data for a reasonable period2. Maintaining inadequate research records, especially for results that are published or are relied on by others3. Conferring or requesting authorship on the basis of a specialized service or contribution that is not significantly related to the research reported in the paper
17 Questionable Research Practices (Not Scientific Misconduct) 4. Refusing to give peers reasonable access to uniqueresearch materials or data that could supportpublished papers5. Using inappropriate statistical or other methods of measurement to enhance the significance of research findings6. Inadequately supervising research subordinates or exploiting them
18 Questionable Research Practices (Not Scientific Misconduct) 7. Misrepresenting speculations as fact or releasingpreliminary research results, especially in thepublic media, without providing sufficient datato allow peers to judge the validity of the resultsor to reproduce the experiments
19 Why Does It Occur? Poor supervision Too much work Lack of training Lack of interestFame and fortuneProve a held theoryCut corners
20 If…. 1. the data seem too good to be true, they probably are. 2. the author cranks out one publication after another, question his research practices.3. a researcher says her plagiarism is a one-time indiscretion---check further (it probably isn’t).
21 WhistleblowersNAS: “…someone who has witnessed misconduct has an unmistaken obligation to act”.Protected under the 1st Amendment and the False Claims Act of 1986Individuals will report misconduct only if their institution has a viable support/protection system in place
22 Whistleblowers (continued) 2/3 of whistleblowers report at least one negative outcome:pressure to drop allegationscounter-allegationsostracized by colleaguesfired/denied promotionsthreats of suits/being sued3/4 of whistleblowers would do it again!
23 Sanctions 1.) Retract articles already in print 2.) Surrender or suspend grants or contracts3.) Letters of Reprimand4.) Imposition of Special RequirementsCertificationSenior PI to oversee work and assure correctness5.) Rescind privilege of serving as PI6.) Rescind graduate faculty status7.) Termination of employment8.) Students: expulsion
24 Parting Advice Follow the general norms of science and the specific norms of your discipline.Violations of the public’s trust in science aredevastating to all.Do the right thing!If in doubt, don’t!