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Corporate Boards

The Scientist, Jan. 10, 1994, page 21): Sheldon Krimsky appears to take the view that if a scientist serves on a board, he or she is guilty until proved innocent. What is the scientist guilty of? The litany includes: (1) not being interested in seeking the truth, as academic purists are, and (2) having a clear conflict of interest if evaluating research, whether the company's or others', in any peer review related to the company's in

Irving Johnson
Regarding your story on scientists on corporate boards (R. Finn, The Scientist, Jan. 10, 1994, page 21): Sheldon Krimsky appears to take the view that if a scientist serves on a board, he or she is guilty until proved innocent. What is the scientist guilty of? The litany includes: (1) not being interested in seeking the truth, as academic purists are, and (2) having a clear conflict of interest if evaluating research, whether the company's or others', in any peer review related to the company's interest.

Krimsky goes on to claim that if a scientist feels compelled to join a board, he or she must agree "never to take any government- funded research projects that are directly related to any work in the company." In fact, some National Institutes of Health research is funded in small companies.

Krimsky's concerns seem embedded in the belief that once in contact with...

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