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To: Multiple recipients of list HUM-MOLGEN <HUM-MOLGEN@NIC.SURFNET.NL>
Subject: ETHI, SPEC: Fraud at NIH/HGP
From: Hans Goerl <GENETHICS@delphi.com>
Date: Wed, 6 Nov 1996 23:36:29 -0500

Surprisingly, only one substantive reply was received on this subject, which
has certainly been the topic of discussion in many labs. What else could Dr.
Collins have done to prevent this embarrassment to NIH and the genetics
community from occurring? What could/should the journals involved have done?
Have any labs or scientists made any changes in their procedures as a result
of this incident? Or... is everybody convinced that it couldn't have
happened to them?

Hans Goerl
ETHI Editor

From: Srinivasan Ramachandran <SRAMACHANDRAN@atlas.niaid.nih.gov>

Some of the suggestions mentioned in the earlier
post might be very good as it looks but implementing them in practise
is not an easy task. Authorship is an important issue
but I certainly don't see that it is a problem everyday.

 It is also not clear whether pressures to perform leads inevitably to
fabrication of scientific data. In an era of limited resources and funding
it is not always easy to request someone else to reproduce the expermients
done by other reasearchers.

 I think one good way might be to do internal peer review i.e., check and
critique the lab. results in the lab. meetings.Frequently erroneous
approaches come to light in these meetings. If taken objectively, these
forums provide excellent opportunity to review one's own results and

 It is the responsibility of the
investigator to set up such an environment. This involves no additional
burden, no extra time.

 Similarly I don't think reviewers' serving the
journals can be held responsible. The same paper read seriously by three
independent experts most often come to very different points of
criticisms. Some effect of personal view about a subject is inevitable.
The editors generally take careof these points but if a paper comes from
a reputed lab. some bias towards believing the results is unavoidable.

It is that kind of reputation that has been damaged in the case of
Francis Collins. However since he has honestly come forward, I think he
will still be highly regarded despite some setback.

S. Ramachandran

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