Cases of potential scientific misconduct are rarely routine, and even those that seem to have the potential for a swift conclusion often metamorphose into highly contentious and confused proceedings. A recent case involving Philadelphia's Fox Chase Cancer Center (FCCC) illustrates some of the difficulties institutions face in responding to misconduct allegations-especially with regard to conflicts that arise when institutions must police themselves.

THE FIRST TIME: Fox Chase president Robert Young notes that "This was the first [misconduct case] we've ever dealt with."
In this case, a technician was alleged to have falsified research data in a May 1993 experiment to measure the impact that switching solvents had on the rate of a reaction catalyzed by the enzyme fumarase. A whistleblower raised her concerns to Fox Chase and the Public Health Service's Office of Research Integrity (ORI) in 1994. ORI has oversight in the case because PHS funds were used...

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