ORI Findings of Scientific Misconduct

A scientist lying to himself in his lab notebooks – to what end?

Notice is hereby given that the Office of Research Integrity (ORI) and the Acting Assistant Secretary for Health have taken final action in the following case:

Wei Jin, Colorado State University: Based on an investigation conducted by Colorado State University and additional analysis and information obtained by the Office of Research Integrity during its oversight review, the US Public Health Service found that Mr. Wei Jin, former doctoral candidate, Department of Chemistry, engaged in research misconduct in research funded by NCI, grant R01 CA85419. Specifically, Mr. Jin falsified data/results by claiming he had performed a novel total synthesis of renieramycin G, when in fact, he obtained renieramycin G through a relatively simple reaction sequence from renieramycin M, a natural product that was a gift to the laboratory and that had been isolated by others from the Thai sponge.

2 Comments »

  1. drugmonkey said

    Well, where else would someone falsify data? If you have the “real” data in your lab book it is just that much easier to catch the fake, no? The real question is why this was made a formal part of the finding…don’t think I’ve seen that before.

    Sigh. I was thinking more along the lines of why bother pursuing a career in science, which is about discovery (knowing you cannot make new discoveries with each experiment), if you’re going to fictionalize the process? But I again do not want/expect an answer … which is obvious … the pressure to come up with publishable data capable of supporting a fundable grant proposal … which leads back to the rhetorical question of why bother to pursue a career in science if you plan to lie to advance yourself rather than do honest work to advance your discipline. Can’t be for the big bucks to be made. This person no doubt has a promising career ahead in politics.

  2. drugmonkey said

    Ah. Well. “Big bucks” is all in perspective, isn’t it? Making no assumptions about this particular case but as a PI with an easily findable email address, I get tons of requests to train from people with only the vaguest relevant experience and no appearance of knowing my work at all. spamming no doubt. but there is a constant drumbeat. the unifying factor is that they come from outside the US/Can/Euro. One might reasonably assume the goal is first to get employed in the US and only secondarily to choose any particular sort of job. The goal might then be to keep the PI happy so as to retain the visa and paycheck rather than to worry about niceties like “actually doing science”. just a (suspiciously nativist) thought…

    Not to mention, science is pretty easy work compared to, say, ditch digging. Why do you doubt that science would be immune from a generic job slacker just looking to get the maximum paycheck for the least amount of effort? Faking data would be a decent way to go if that was your thing…

    Digging ditches sounds better all the time … writedit

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