5104- Catching Criminals with Kid Gloves

“in response to Blog Post 2: Ethics”

What I don’t understand is the complacency of research quality in the US. I read this case summary that shows the ORI discovered a researcher was fabricating data in a published PLOS paper. Figures 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, S1, S2, S3, S4, and S5 all were either fabricated data or based on fabricated data. When pressed, the researcher admitted guilt when she couldn’t produce the raw data. PUNISHMENT? What would be acceptable for a research who has moral standards so low that they would find it acceptable to publish fabricated data. I think a ban or loss of funding for a certain number of years. No, her punishment was retraction of the paper and a supervision of every paper published for the next three years. After those three years, no one would know about being caught publishing fabricated data unless she told them.

I find this reproachable. If you have done it once, you will probably do it again or have done it before. I would be nervous about what parts of her research may have been fabricated when she tried to move universities. I would have been nervous being in the same department as this woman about what her research now means. What does she bring to the department other than scrutiny where her colleagues didn’t see this behavior. And I guess this branches from science, where the professors regular present seminars to their peers and graduate students about their current research.

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