Scientific Responsibility and the Law

Because public policy is implicated by scientific misconduct, the legal profession should be interested in overcoming this problem. This Article studies the scientific misconduct problem and provides a personal view of the legal dilemmas that confront those who report misconduct. Part I describes how the scientific community currently deals with alleged fraud. Scientists primarily rely on the peer review system and toothless guidelines. Part II illustrates the problems in the present system through a case study of an allegation of misconduct. The author represented a man who reported scientific misconduct; the National Institutes of Health (NIH) investigation took five and one-half years. This Article concludes that lawyers should become more involved in the investigation and adjudication of scientific fraud to assist the scientific community in preserving the due process rights of the accused, maintaining the integrity of the scientific community, and encouraging exposure of misconduct.