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EthicsCaseStudyForm edit

Title An Instance of Fraud
Long Title An Instance of Fraud
Contributor/Contact John Banja, PhD? (jbanja@emory.edu)
Contributor Details John Banja, PhD?
Director, Section on Ethics in Research
Atlanta Clinical and Translational Science Institute
Emory University
Atlanta, GA 30322
CTSA Emory
Case Study Provided Some years ago, a graduate student obtained some funding from an external, private source that would support his stipend, enable him to travel, and, very importantly, allow him to purchase supplies (e.g., cells and reagents) for his research. This funding came as a considerable relief because the University had recently had to assume significant budget cuts in research programs, and the student anticipated needing some expensive materials for his research.

As the student tried to move his project forward, however, he was stymied by the PI (who was also the lab director) who refused the student’s requests for supplies and reagents. The PI explained that “the funds are no longer there,” and that the student should cease making inquiries regarding the nature and amount of his grant monies.

The student finally approached the Dean of Research and explained his concerns. The Dean’s response was much in line with the PI’s: That the University has had to cut budgets, that the PI has the authority over expenditures, that everyone must make do in these hard times, and that the student should simply accept these limitations and be grateful he still has his entire stipend. The Dean also noted that the PI is one of the University’s most valued faculty members and that any public accusations against him would be intolerable.

The student tried one more strategy: He requested and received a full audit of his grant from the lab’s financial administrator. As the student reviewed an itemized list of purchases charged to the grant, he noted multiple travel expenses, costs for reagents and cells, and some other items that were never used in his project. The student returned to the Dean’s office with these findings. The Dean became very upset and said, “You had no right to request this. It is very clear to me that you are not the kind of team player we expect our students to be here. By doing this, you should know you have jeopardized your career here and anywhere else for that matter.”

Traumatized by the exchange, the student wondered what to do next.
Data Acquisition, Management, Sharing and Ownership Topics
Ethical values behind the scientific standards for data acquisition_management_sharing and ownership,
Variations in lab practices—legitimate and illegitimate variations
Mentor and Trainee Responsibilities Topics
Power relationships and the potential problems they involve,
Scientific responsibilities of the mentor,
Addressing challenges and problems in the mentor–trainee relationship
Publication Practices and Responsible Authorship Topics No publication practices and responsible authorship topics
Peer Review Topics No peer review topics
Collaborative Science Topics No collaborative science topics
Research Misconduct Topics
Significance of misconduct,
Other serious deviations from scientific best practices,
Regulations and policies addressing misconduct,
Responding to observed misconduct
Conflicts of Interest, Law and Policy Topics No conflicts of interest_law_and policy topics
Human Subjects No human subjects

URL http://www.actsi.org/areas/erks/ethics/index.html
RCR Keyword Research Misconduct, Grant, Lab Partners, Mentoring, Students
Other RCR Keywords Authority; Budget Cuts; Cells; Dean of Research; Expenditures; Fraud; Full Audit; Graduate Student; Lab Director; Lab’s Financial Administrator; PI; Private Funding; Purchase Supplies; Reagents; Stipend; Team Player; Travel
Type of Case

Source for Topic Areas Du Bois, J., & Dueker, J. (2009). Teaching and Assessing the Responsible Conduct of Research: A Delphi Consensus Panel Report. Journal of Research Administration, 40(1), 49-70.


Topic revision: r1 - 31 Oct 2011 - 17:14:15 - DebieSchilling
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