The fight over Walter Stewart and Ned Feder (Franklin Hoke, The Scientist, May 17, 1993, page 1) is not about plagiarism by a historian, nor about scientific fraud. It is about power. Since World War II, the United States government has given money to biomedical science and let the scientists carve it up among themselves. The system rewards favor-trading, so politicians arose, the skilled ones achieving great influence over funding.
Influence and fear permeate our profession. Disagree with a top figure in your field, and you may be unpublished and grantless.
When someone blows a whistle, the truth of the charge comes second. What counts is whether it offends the powerful. The system sees the mere act of whistle-blowing as disrespect. (Margot O'Toole got a violent response from the elite because she, a postdoc, did not know her place.)
The charge, whatever it is, will be found wanting, and the...