A Lesson from Enron

Nicholas Wade's article, "Fraud Happens: What to Do About It,"1 touches on several aspects of the phenomenon of scientific fraud in the wake of Jan Henrik Schon's scandal at Bell Labs. However, I found myself a bit disappointed reading about actions and checkpoints that do not work in curbing fraud in science and not much in terms of "what to do about it." Although an attempt was made to shift the responsibility of fraud detection to the lab chief, in many cases the chief himself is the perpetrator. Moreover, in today's rich and expensive science where a whole institution can rise or fall on one fat grant, self-policing is frequently used to silence a whistleblower rather than expose and punish a perpetrator.

Maybe science should take a page from the recent book of fraudulent activities in big corporations such as Enron and WorldCom, where whistle-blowing...

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