The Battlefield Health and Trauma Research Institute Scientific Ethics Committee: An Evolving Model for Fostering a Culture of Integrity
ARMY INST OF SURGICAL RESEARCH FORT SAM HOUSTON TX
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The scientific enterprise is built on a foundation of trust. Society trusts that scientific research results are an honest and accurate reflection of a researcher s work. Researchers equally trust that their colleagues have gathered data carefully, have used appropriate analytic and statistical techniques, have reported their results accurately, and have treated the work of other researchers with respect. When this trust is misplaced and the professional standards of science are violated, researchers are not just personally affronted they feel that the base of their profession has been undermined. This would impact the relationship between science and society. This quotation is the opening paragraph of a guidebook published by the National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, and Institute of Medicine and eloquently depicts the central role that trust has in scientific investigation. Yet, newspapers periodically report instances in which scientists have acted unethically in their scientific practices. To cite a few recent examples Joachim Boldt, a presumed leader in surgical resuscitation, is currently under investigation for fabrication of published scientific studies and performing research without Institutional Review Board approval. An investigation at Walter Reed Army Medical Center determined that Timothy Kuklo, an Army orthopedic surgeon, claimed other doctors as coauthors on an article, forging their signatures on submission forms, and may have overstated benefits of a product of a company for which he acted as a paid consultant. The article that launched the concern that the measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine causes autism has recently been retracted by the editors of the noted British journal The Lancet following findings of fraudulent activity by the principal investigator, Andrew Wakefield.
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