I found Dan L. Burk's Opinion article (The Scientist, Sept. 16, 1996, page 9) interesting and educational. Not being a lawyer, I did not appreciate how many of the terms in the report carry significant legal baggage.

I agree with Burk that increasing the legalism of investigations of misconduct in science is unwise and undesirable. Unfortunately, the Commission on Research Integrity is hardly leading the way in such a move. As Burk notes, "more and more cases of scientific misconduct are being resolved in court." Typically such resolutions overturn earlier findings of misconduct, to the satisfaction of the accused and the chagrin of the accusers and investigators.

I also agree with Burk that it would be preferable to resolve allegations of misconduct through alternative dispute resolution, but as long as persons charged with misconduct have the option of challenging any finding of misconduct by bringing suit in...

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