Going through the ORI website makes me feel sad. Most of the cases of research violation were related to the fields of biomedical and medicine, which is shocking! One would assume those two fields are very critical interms of their effect on people’s health, and research in such fields must be carried with the highest degree of professionalism as they might change the future, however surprisingly, it seems those are the fields were most violations occur. The case of Alexander Neumeister, M.D., New York University School of Medicine, Langone Medical Center is one of the unfortunate case I read.
The New York University of medicine is one of the most reputable medicine schools across the country, ranked 9th in research according to the U.S. News and world report. ” Based on the report of an investigation conducted by New York University School of Medicine, Langone Medical Center (NYUSOM) and additional analysis conducted by the Office of Research Integrity (ORI) in its oversight review, ORI found that Alexander Neumeister, M.D. (Respondent), who was a Professor of Psychiatry and Radiology, Department of Psychiatry, New York University School of Medicine, Langone Medical Center (NYUSOM). Dr. Neumeister engaged in research misconduct in psychiatric clinical research supported by National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), National Institutes of Health (NIH), grants R01 MH096876, R01 MH102566, R21 MH094763, R21 MH096105, R21 MH102035, and R34 MH102871.”
Dr. Neumister was found guilty in falsifying and fabricating intentionally clinical records of the research by changing the characteristics of the subject. Part of the violation done involved changing and ignoring clinical and psychiatric assessment data, using outdated clinical assessments to determine eligibility of participating groups, claiming to obtain the help from trained assistant where no training or certifications were obtained, and many others. As a result, four search papers authored by Dr.Neumister are considered falsified and must be corrected.
This is frustrating at different levels. Dr.Neumister not only violated one or two of the research codes, he violated almost everything about this research, and most importantly, he lost the trust of the patients who thought this research might help improve other people’s lives. I believe what Dr.Neumister did is shameful, falsifying sensitive areas of research and falsifying actual patients records to publish papers. It should be noted too that Dr.Neumiste neither admits nor denies ORI’s findings of research misconduct, he went for a settlement with no admission of liability which personally, I find more frustrating. I understand that this settlement is the best option for his future career and not pleading guilty gives him a chance to further carry his research, but I find it a way of not confessing your guilt which is very evident. I think Dr.Neumister ruined his career the moment he decided to indulge in such actions, and I am not sure of agencies will be willing to fund and trust his research again.
2 thoughts on “Ethics Post”
This big question, how these papers are accepted in the very beginning?
I believe that if a referee is aware with the field of the paper, he would have some questions about the results and their quality. Reviewers must be selected carefully in a way that they can identify if the paper has a true impact or not. The problem is that many journals are opening and there is limited number of qualified reviewers. This makes these journals look for anyone to review the paper. We also hear about instructors who make their students review papers instead of them. of course, these students lack the knowledge and experience to make a good judge. We always see a number of papers with strange results and these papers are published in large avenues. I hope that we can end that soon.
I agree that there isn’t enough justice in this settlement. It is disappointing that he never admitted guilt, and I turn back to the patients that you mentioned. People often freely or implicitly place their trust in researchers who are supposed to have their best interests at heart and use their information for promising discoveries. To alter their contributions because they didn’t fit his expectations is absolutely horrid. The drive to publish should never exceed our obligations to those we study and/or are supposed to help, to those in our respective fields, and to those who try to uphold the integrity of research itself. The least that those people deserve is knowing that he would ultimately come forward and confirm what they know or suspect. They deserve that and so much more.