IN THIS issue of THE JOURNAL, Mishkin1 has spelled out a tough-minded approach to research misconduct, arguing that science must enforce its standards more vigorously. This proposal demands prior notification, or the dissemination of "dos and don'ts" for researchers, more serious attention to whistle-blowers, and stricter rules for conducting investigations, so that due process may be strengthened along with the increased severity of potential sanctions. Mishkin illuminates the essential features of a university administration's guidelines for responding to charges of unethical conduct. These features include protection for the accused and the accuser, a graded response based on preliminary assessment of the seriousness of the charges and the likelihood of their validity, and a process of review that involves peers that are well informed but not involved with the questioned research.
Logical as this approach is, the skeptical administrator sees some practical problems with it. For one thing, most scientists
Friedman PJ. Research Ethics, Due Process, and Common Sense. JAMA. 1988;260(13):1937–1938. doi:10.1001/jama.1988.03410130145041
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