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Misconduct cases probed.

Misconduct cases probed

Officials representing three federal agencies funding nonmilitary research told Congress last week they are investigating 87 cases of scientific misconduct.

The National Institutes of Health's Office of Scientific Integrity is investigating 77 cases of misconduct in research supported by either the NIH or the Alcohol, Drug Abuse, and Mental Health Administration, according to Brian W. Kimes, the office's acting director. And the National Science Foundation is investigating 10 cases, with eight nearly completed and two others in progress, says Robert M. Andersen, NSF's deputy general counsel. NSF has promised to give a House government operations subcommittee a general report characterizing its first eight cases without naming the scientists involved or their institutions.

Federal officials, scientists and editors of science journals say there is no way to tell yet if the numbers should be a major cause for concern. But at a recent congressional hearing and in meetings with science organizations, Drummond Rennie, associate editor of the JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION, proposed a method to find out--a one-time-only, in-depth audit of research papers selected randomly from journals. The auditors, selected from scientists in the field, would examine raw data to check accuracy if needed, Rennie says.

His proposal has received mixed reactions from scientists and editors, some of whom fear a never-ending system of supervision by Big Brother. Notes Rennie, "I have a lot of convincing to do."
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Title Annotation:scientific misconduct in research
Publication:Science News
Date:Jul 8, 1989
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