I have had bad Brandy before, and the punishment I received for drinking it was far worse than that issued to Brandi Lyn Blaylock. Ms. Blaylock was a graduate student and researcher who falsified research that was supported by NIDA and NIH. Feel free to review the case summary. My stance on this case is that the punishment does not match the seriousness of the ethical violation. I believe we would see less of these cases if we were more punitive in our response to such matters. For example, if you receive federal funding and you purposefully alter findings, this behavior should be treated as a federal offense. Typically, when people misappropriate federal funds there is the chance that they will be subject to harsh fines and even jail time. For some reason, ethical violations within the world of research are not held to the same standard. This laissez-faire approach could place thousands if not millions of lives in danger. Instead, Bad Brandi received supervisory restrictions and a requirement that her work be monitored. Really? Here’s how the case should have been handled:
- Barred from applying for any federal and state-level funding; and
- Barred from publishing in any peer-reviewed journal.
If we want to heighten the value and quality of scholarship, there should be no lax policies nor should there be the impression that ethical violations are but a hiccup in one’s career.
Am I violator-shaming right now? Why yes I am.