Wednesday, October 14, 2009

"Confronting murky world of scientists gone wild"

That's the title given by The New Indian Express to my opinion piece (but only in the Bangalore print edition; the online edition has a more sober title).

I have used the Sancheti plagiarism case as the latest example of the kinds of things that are allowed to happen only because India lacks a research regulator on the lines of the Office of Research Integrity in the US.

I'll post the longer original this evening. In the meantime, here are a couple of key paragraphs:

In a sane world, the retraction of a plagiarised article would not be front page news in a leading newspaper. There would have been far saner ways in which l’affaire Sancheti would have been handled. Clearly, India’s researchers do not live in a sane world. The affair underlines, again, the need for this sane environment, for clear and uniform rules for dealing with cases of scientific misconduct. [... A looong snip ...]

As a problem in scholarly ethics, the Sancheti case should have been handled with ease. The fact that we are still discussing it some 16 months later is a serious indictment of our ways of dealing with questions of scientific misconduct. It is high time Indian scientists demanded the establishment of a research regulator with statutory teeth.