Advising and Advocating for Whistleblowers, the Accused and Institutions
A recent survey by the federal Office of Research Integrity, published in the periodical Nature, documents the disturbing fact that research and scientific misconduct may be very prevalent in U.S. universities and research institutes. Such incidents call into question the integrity and credibility of science. The Office of Research Integrity study also identifies the problems associated with reporting and investigating such incidents. For example, it is an all too common experience that the reporting of misconduct makes the whistleblower vulnerable to retaliation in the workplace, ostracism by colleagues, and a myriad of costs, including emotional turmoil, from being involved in an investigation. It is our experience that most institutions are poorly equipped to conduct appropriate investigations. In addition, participants in an investigation--whistleblowers, accused individuals, and those conducting the investigation--need experienced and effective legal representation and counsel. To add to our understanding of this important problem, please take the time to complete our brief (10 minutes or less) online survey. Your participation will be anonymous, and your responses will be kept in strict confidence. The results of this survey will be reported in subsequent blogs and newsletters.