Can we — or should we — rehabilitate scientists who commit misconduct?
Nature published an interesting piece yesterday, titled “Rehab’ helps errant researchers return to the lab.” Excerpt:
With the rapid growth of misconduct cases, some scientists are worried that preventative training in research ethics might not be enough. Nor will it be possible simply to dismiss all violators from science. Scientific rehabilitation, they say, will have to become a necessary tool for research-integrity offices.
“Sometimes these are very talented researchers,” says James DuBois, an ethicist at Saint Louis University, who leads the rehab programme, called RePAIR (Restoring Professionalism and Integrity in Research). “We believe that if we can equip them with certain skills, they can return to the field as very productive individuals.”
There’s some question, as Nature notes, whether RePAIR or other programs like it will be effective. But if the comments Ivan saw in response to a tweet about RePAIR are any indication, there are a number of scientists wondering whether scientists found guilty of fraud deserve to be rehabilitated at all — and whether this was a good way for the NIH to spend $500,000 at a time when competition for grants is so tight.
“Couldn’t disagree more,” wrote Princeton professor of genomics and evolutionary biology Leonid Kruglyak, which led to a number of comments including “But hard to justify spending money on a “rehabilitation” program when so many are out there seeking jobs!!!”
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