Thursday, April 5, 2018

Academic Dishonesty Returns to Cancer Research Lab

The Ohio State University (OSU) reported that one of its former star cancer researchers (who resigned in fall 2017) used false results fourteen times in eight reports ("University Is Quick to Disclose Misconduct." Science, April 6, 2018). Most notable about this revelation was that OSU was very forthcoming with this information almost immediately after concluding its investigation. The article mentions that OSU has been under fire for badly handling other recent scientific misconduct on campus including another cancer researcher who was the subject of a New York Times investigation.

Discussion Questions:
  1. If you received millions of dollars to conduct research, would you feel obligated to report more promising results than you actually observed so you could continue to get funding? Or would you clearly state what occurred in your research? 
  2. A university's reputation suffers harm and its research programs stand to lose external funding if researchers are not conducting and reporting results honestly. Do you think OSU was trying to repair damage from past incidents by reporting this story very quickly? Why or why not?
  3. If you were a student researcher in a lab where misconduct was occurring, would you risk your reputation and career to report the academic dishonesty of fellow students and/or professors? Why or why not?

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