Harriet S.MeyerMD, Contributing EditorJonathan D.EldredgeMLS, PhD, Journal Review EditorRobertHoganMD, adviser for new media
The US scientific community has for the last 15 years struggled with how to deal with allegations of scientific misconduct. Several notable allegations have resulted in prolonged public controversies involving scientists, the research-supporting agencies, and the US Congress. Other countries have recently discovered that they are not immune to this problem, as they like to think, and are still trying to determine how best to deal with such allegations.
Daniel Kevles' new book The Baltimore Case is, therefore, very timely. It is a careful analysis of one of the major cases that has brought the issue of dealing with alleged scientific misconduct before the public: the controversy surrounding the allegations by Dr Margot O'Toole that one of Dr David Baltimore's collaborators, Dr Thereza Imanishi-Kari, had published a fraudulent paper. Kevles, a distinguished historian of modern science, carefully documents the entire history of the controversy and concludes that Imanishi-Kari was innocent of the charges and rightfully exonerated by the Research Integrity Adjudication Panel of the Department of Health and Human Services. He is critical of segments of both the press and congress for what, he argues, was their unfair handling of Baltimore and Imanishi-Kari in their rush to judgment. It will come as no surprise to those who have read Kevles' other books that his analysis is well-written, fully documented, and immensely judicious.
Research EthicsThe Baltimore Case: A Trial of Politics, Science, and Character. JAMA. 1999;281(15):1439-1440. doi:10.1001/jama.281.15.1439-JBK0421-4-1