StATS: Using a charge of fraud to achieve a political end (June 23, 2006)

There was an interesting paper published recently:

The author describe a researcher who was subjected to charges of research fraud. Perhaps, though, the charges of fraud are themselves fraudulent. The motivation, the author suggests, may not have been the research itself but some additional controversial activities that the researchers were involved with

The hostility stemmed from his use of covert video surveillance (under a police-approved protocol) to investigate why some infants suffered repeated episodes of apparently inexplicable life-threatening apnea.

Often it is difficult to follow allegations such as these, and there is no way for an outsider to easily sort through the facts. It is worth noting, though, that other researchers involved with controversial activities have been attacked, not for the controversial research itself but for conducting fraudulent or unethical research.

I highlighted the case of Gretchen LeFever on my weblog

and in an article on the Chance Wiki

One possible motivation for making an accusation of fraud is that tenure protects you if your research is controversial, but you can still get fired if a critic gets a charge of fraud to stick. It is very important to make sure that any resolution of allegations of fraud follow an appropriate format that allows for full and fair investigation into the facts of the allegation.

This page was written by Steve Simon while working at Children's Mercy Hospital. Although I do not hold the copyright for this material, I am reproducing it here as a service, as it is no longer available on the Children's Mercy Hospital website. Need more information? I have a page with general help resources. You can also browse for pages similar to this one at Category: Ethics in research.