Is the Office of Scientific Integrity Too Zealous?

Since administrators naturally wish to protect their institutions from embarrassment, it is not surprising that they have often been reluctant to respond to allegations of fraud in research. We are now paying the price for this reticence, as congressional investigations have exposed a substantial number of fraud cases--more than most scientists would have expected. Nevertheless, the recognition of even one or two dozen cases of fraud among the 24,000 grants supported by the National Institutes

Julia King
May 12, 1991
Since administrators naturally wish to protect their institutions from embarrassment, it is not surprising that they have often been reluctant to respond to allegations of fraud in research. We are now paying the price for this reticence, as congressional investigations have exposed a substantial number of fraud cases--more than most scientists would have expected. Nevertheless, the recognition of even one or two dozen cases of fraud among the 24,000 grants supported by the National Institutes of Health does not seriously undermine confidence that the great majority of scientists have extreme concern for scientific integrity, on which their whole enterprise depends.

Some legislators, however, perceive a more serious crisis, and in response to their criticism, the Department of Health and Human Services established two offices: its own Office of Scientific Integrity Review and the Office of Scientific Integrity (OSI) in NIH.

While it was necessary to strengthen the NIH mechanisms for...

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