To: commenter identifying self as skeptical_scientist.Â First let me concur that hanky panky is hanky panky, and deserves to be invesigated and, if and as appropriate, prosecuted.Â Let me extend that to suggest that timeliness is a factor in the investigation and, where indicated, prosecution of hanky panky.Â Had the hanky panky played by at least seventeen of the U.S.'s largest banking corporations been TIMELY investigated between, say, January 20, 2001 and, say, March 2007, it is an abundantly evidenced reality that the size of the housing bubble would have been demonstrably less robust than it was.Â If you desire a source of documentation, google for "mortgage fraud," find the web site of Colorado law firm of Anthony Accetta, and you will be guided to where the hard evidence is stored.Â The Attorney Generals of New York State and the State of New Jersey have an abundance of hard evidence, as well.Â You will find that under the GOP dominance of the White House and for more than five years leading up to the very moment of the housing market crash the GOP not only had to have known and had to have looked the other way but, also, had to have known (and hence were complicit in) the failure or refusal of the federal agencies to investigate what amounts to trillions of dollars of fraudulent rake-off the the American (homeowner's) Dream.
Let me point out that it was you who broached a political factor into what might theretofore been a subject confined to issues of scientists and ethics.Â And I have only added a bit of clarification to that issue, by introducing the fact that a far larger and far more costly un-scandal has still, even to this very day, remained closeted.
Let me add that, having raised children (and having survived to tell of it) my wife and I recall how often, when we caught one child red handed in committing hanky panky, the first word out of the caughtee's mouth was the name of a sibling, followed by a report of some hanky pankious thing that other sibling had done that surely deserved equal or greater negatorious attention from us.Â (Often the interpretation put on whatever it was by the red-handed objector was that guilt of that other culprit was certain, and the nature of the crime far more egregious than that of the red-handed one.)
Hopefully that is enough said of politics, and we can now focus on science and ethics.
Allow me to thank the editors for not sweeping the instant thingee under the carpet.Â The very redeeming virtue of science, and peer review lie in their ability to call a spade a spade and stand a situation (anecdotal or otherwise) on its own feet and give it the attention it deserves.Â The editors and I know, I submit, that many scientists are human (just as are most politicians tend to be, by popular consensus) and, therefore, are subject to both pecadillos and sellings of their souls (which can be taken literally or merely figuratively, in accordance with one's own gestalt frame).
If there is no soul to sell, then there is no reason not to sell it, but one, that one's being:Â One must avoid getting caught at it.
Either there is some higher ethic giver, or there is not.Â If there is, then one who fudges one's data to one's advantage, or bribes a grant-screener, has committed a wrongdoing.Â On the other hand, if there is but one rule-giver -- nature -- then the onlyÂ "bad" thing is to have done whatever is necessary to benefit oneself, and done so in so negligent a way as to have gotten exposed, and embarrassed and gosh knows what all.
There is at least one other alternative, of course, and that is some indefinable idiopathic need to be honest because honor is a great thing in and of itself.Â In China, for example, there are those who subscribe to a deep valuing of integrity for integrity's sake.Â Let that be studied more.
But allow me to raise the issue of "public trust."Â Some members of the public would sooner trust a peer review editorship that does not sweep its contributors' hanky panky under the carpet, but puts it out there for evaluation and examination.Â Some members of the public, on the other hand, might sort of keep score, so to speak, such that the more honest, open revelations of hanky panky they hear of, the LESS they would trust the occupational integrity of those in the division of labor category under contemplation.Â
Nothing in empirics provides any evidence that it anything is "wrong" in a scientific sense.Â Hence empirical studies my not be science from some viewpoints.
I believe the editors and I share a feeling that ethical values may have some merit.
And, also, I believe that each perceived violation of an ethical value that seems to be
widely held, or widely pretended as the case may be, should be stood on its own feet, and not confused with politics or metaphysics or philosophy or any such nebulous non-empirically testable basis.Â I cannot speak for the editors, so I merely disclose that this is a perception of mine.
And, in accordance with that perception, let me applaud and thank the editors for leaving the closet door open on hanky panky among human scientists.