For the second blog post (Ethics) I decided to include a research misconduct which took place in the field of Dental and Facial Research.
It was interesting for myself to see the consequences of an intended data falsifying. As you will read follow, data that were included in two papers were fabricated intentionally by another researcher in her work.
Although it was proven to be an intentionally research misconduct, it is still a question for me how (ORI) could recognize an intended research misconduct from unintended one? In other word, what is the procedure of distinguishing an intentionally research misconduct. I will be happy if you share your idea and information with me regarding this issue or your opinion about the following case.
Ms. Maria Cristina Miron Elqutub, Research Interviewer, MDACC, engaged in research misconduct in research supported by National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) and National Institutes of Health (NIH).
Office of Research Integrity (ORI) found that Respondent engaged in research misconduct by intentionally and knowingly falsifying and/or fabricating data that were included in two published papers.
Specifically, ORI found that Respondent engaged in research misconduct by recording dates and providing her own blood samples to cause these samples to be falsely labeled as samples from ninety-eight (98) study subjects in a cancer genetics study involving human blood samples. This resulted in the reporting of false data in Tables.
Ms. Elqutub entered into a Voluntary Settlement Agreement and voluntarily agreed, beginning on April 26, 2018:
(1) to have her research supervised for a period of three (3) years; Respondent agreed to ensure that prior to the submission of an application for U.S. Public Health Service (PHS) support for a research project on which Respondent’s participation is proposed and prior to Respondent’s participation in any capacity on PHS-supported research, the institution employing her must submit a plan for supervision of Respondent’s duties to ORI for approval; the supervision plan must be designed to ensure the scientific integrity of Respondent’s research contribution; Respondent agreed that she will not participate in any PHS-supported research until a supervision plan is submitted to and approved by ORI; Respondent agreed to maintain responsibility for compliance with the agreed upon supervision plan;
(2) that for a period of three (3) years, any institution employing her must submit, in conjunction with each application for PHS funds, or report, manuscript, or abstract involving PHS-supported research in which Respondent is involved, a certification to ORI that the data provided by Respondent are based on actual experiments or are otherwise legitimately derived and that the data, procedures, and methodology are accurately reported in the application, report, manuscript, or abstract;
(3) if no supervisory plan is provided to ORI, to provide certification to ORI on an annual basis for a period of three (3) years that she has not engaged in, applied for, or had her name included on any application, proposal, or other request for PHS funds without prior notification to ORI;
(4) to exclude herself voluntarily from serving in any advisory capacity to PHS including, but not limited to, service on any PHS advisory committee, board, and/or peer review committee, or as a consultant for a period of three (3) years