A case of misconduct was brought about alleging that Dr. Neumeister of NYU engaged in falsifying information in research that was funded by outside grants. The part of this case study that I found interesting was the fact that a settlement was garnered. The settlement included a Voluntary Exclusion Agreement in order to conclude the investigation. What I find particularly interesting is that by coming to a settlement, Dr. Neumeister never had to admit any wrongdoing. In a case where outside money is granted in order to conduct what, I’m sure, any organization would assume is legitimate research, I believe that an admission of guilt is in order and possible reimbursement of funds. Normally, I would not assume guilt but as part of the agreement Neumeister ‘voluntarily’ gave up certain research privileges, which seems to me to be admitting, at least, some negligence.
The bigger picture here is why do researchers commit these acts of ethics violations. It is not to further science. Is it to fill a quota of getting published? Is it to try to make a name for themselves? Is it in order to substantiate grant money? I’m sure some or all these reasons apply in some cases but the crux of the problem ultimately comes down to ethics, both the personal ethics of the researcher and the professional ethics of the discipline. Especially in the medical field, a case like this should be looked into closer, considering the health risks that are involved. A settlement and a ‘voluntarily’ 2 year ban on research doesn’t seem to me to be sufficient. The lack of ethics displayed in this case not only diminishes any future research done by Neumeister but also taints research in the field as a whole.