Scientific misconduct and findings against graduate and medical students

Research paper by Debra M. Parrish

Indexed on: 01 Sep '04Published on: 01 Sep '04Published in: Science and Engineering Ethics


Allegations of scientific misconduct against graduate students appear to have unique attributes in the detection, investigation, processes used and sanctions imposed vis-à-vis other populations against which misconduct is alleged and found. An examination of the cases closed by the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Research Integrity and the National Science Foundation reveals that most of the allegations made against graduate and medical students are for falsification and fabrication. Further, additional processes are used in these cases, e.g., student judicial processes, more students are “set up” and more students admit misconduct. Finally, the sanctions imposed when a finding is made typically involve separation from the institution and the federal sanction ranges from none to debarment. Drawing upon the teachings and circumstances of cases involving graduate student peers is a good vehicle for illustrating the concepts and perils of misconduct to graduate students.