Sunday, November 21, 2010

Research and Progress

During a visit to Sweden I was made aware of this group blog that deals with research. One of the bloggers, retired associate professor in ethics Birgitta Forsman, wrote about scientific misconduct in Sweden.

It seems the government has put forth a new proposition about scientific misconduct. Her major criticism is that much of research today is done outside of universities, and that the local lords have a much too strong influence in the decision about what is worth being researched.

She discusses the STAN study which was published in Lancet. The inventor of a technology that was to be studied (and co-owner of the company that uses the technology and was financing the study) was monitor and responsible for the quality of the study, although he was not listed on the paper.

This is a different kind of scientific misconduct than what has often been linked to here. This is not someone who is not involved in the study putting their name on the paper in order to pad their CV. This is someone who was involved not being listed so that when Lancet asked if any of the authors had any connection to the company whose technology was being investigated, they could all truthfully answer "no".

An investigation into this research deemed it problematic, but not scientific misconduct, begging the question of where exactly scientific misconduct begins.

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