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September 15, 1993

Recent Government Decision Refocuses Attention on Several Cases of Alleged Scientific Misconduct

JAMA. 1993;270(11):1286. doi:10.1001/jama.1993.03510110020006

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A GOVERNMENT appeals board has overruled findings of scientific misconduct by a Cleveland (Ohio) Clinic Foundation scientist, Rameshwar K. Sharma, MD, made by another government entity. The misconduct charge involved making two false statements in grant applications to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Bethesda, Md. Handing down its decision, the appeals board said that the Office of Research Integrity had "failed to carry its burden of proving scientific misconduct by a preponderance of the evidence as to either grant application."

The panel's decision is the first to be made under a revised system of handling misconduct cases set up last summer by James O. Mason, MD, then Assistant Secretary for Health. One of the changes Mason made was to allow scientists charged with misconduct the right of appeal to an independent adjudicatory body (JAMA. 1992;268:848). Under this system, a tribunal held a hearing on the Sharma case last May.