Walter Stewart and Ned Feder -- forced into new jobs at the National Institutes of Health in April 1993, ending their decade-long careers as self-styled scientific misconduct investigators -- have quietly but persistently continued their inquiries into research wrongdoing. They do so now, however, on their own time and with non-governmental resources.

Should Stewart and Feder be reinstated in their former jobs? Many people familiar with their case -- even some who respect the role Stewart and Feder have played as scientific whistle-blowers -- voice doubts that their old positions at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) were appropriate ones for their activities.

"They started out as scientists," notes Kenneth J. Ryan, chairman of the federal Commission on Research Integrity-- which heard testimony recently from the two men--and a professor of obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive biology at Harvard Medical School. "They then became individuals who...

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