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RESPONSIBLE SCIENCE: Ensuring the Integrity of the Research Process
findings of misconduct. Another two dozen or so cases of alleged misconduct in science were reported in congressional hearings in the 1980s. Some of the cases discussed in congressional hearing' s and in the Woolf analysis are included in the NSF and DHHS reports mentioned above. Some cases discussed in congressional hearings are still open, and the remainder have been closed without an institutional finding of misconduct in science.
The estimate of confirmed cases of misconduct in science does not include cases in which research institutions have made findings of misconduct, unless these cases are included in the Woolf analysis or the congressional hearings mentioned above. During the time of this study, there were no central records for institutional reports on misconduct in science that would indicate the frequency with which these organizations found allegations to have merit.
Finally, several authors have reviewed selected cases of misconduct in science, both contemporary and historical. The most popular accounts are a book by Broad and Wade (1982), who cite 34 cases of “known or suspected cases of scientific fraud” ranging from “ancient Greece to the present day”; a book by Klotz (1985); and one by Kohn (1986), who cites 24 cases of “known or suspected misconduct.” These texts, and the government reports, congressional hearings, and Woolf analysis cited above, discuss many of the same cases.
2. The preamble to the PHS's 1989 regulations for scientific misconduct notes that “reported instances of scientific misconduct appear to represent only a small fraction of the total number of research and research training awards funded by the PHS” (DHHS, 1989a, p. 32446). The preamble to the NSF's 1987 misconduct regulations states that “NSF has received relatively few allegations of misconduct or fraud occurring in NSF-supported research or proposals” (NSF, 1987, p. 24466).
Furthermore, according to the National Library of Medicine, during the 10-year period from 1977 to 1986, about 2.8 million articles were published in the world's biomedical literature. The number of articles retracted because of the discovery of fraud or falsification of data was 41, less than 0.002 percent of the total. See Holton (1988), p. 457.
3. Analyses of the NSF's experience are complicated by the fact that different offices have held authority for handling research misconduct cases. Prior to the creation of the OIG in March 1989, this authority was assigned to the NSF's Division of Audit and Oversight. The OIG “inherited” approximately 19 case files, and it received 6 new allegations of research misconduct during FY 1989. NSF officials reported in 1987 that NSF had examined 12 charges of research misconduct, 7 of which were found to be warranted, of which 3 were considered minor violations. See Woolf (1988a).
4. Personal communication, OIG, NSF, February 1, 1991.
5. Personal communication, Jules Hallum, director, OSI, February 27, 1991.
6. Four of these investigations were conducted by the PHS. Sixteen were conducted by outside, primarily grantee, institutions. One additional investigation was an intramural case within the PHS.
7. See the documentation regarding the case of psychologist Stephen Breuning as detailed in the DHHS's Report and Recommendations of a Panel to Investigate Allegations of Scientific Misconduct under Grants MH-32206 and MH-37449, April 20, 1987.
8. The definition excludes violations of regulations that govern human or animal experimentation, financial or other record-keeping requirements, or the use of toxic or hazardous substances. It applies to individuals or institutions that apply for as well as those that receive extramural research, research-training, or research-related grants or cooperative agreements under the PHS, and to all intramural PHS research. In the proposed rule, the PHS's definition of misconduct included a second clause referring