Hastings Law Journal


Recent incidents involving possible misconduct on the part of prominent scientists have focused attention on the issues involved in determinations of science misconduct. Despite their notoriety, however, determinations of science misconduct are often marked by casual or nonexistent regard for the rights of the accused. Furthermore, a scientist who has been adjudged guilty of misconduct faces potential professional ruin.

This Note argues that the presence of this combination in science misconduct investigations constitutes a denial of due process to accused scientists. The author proposes creating an independent federal agency to deal with cases involving possible science misconduct, with a legal rather than a scientific focus, in order to ensure that due process is observed. Establishment of an agency will both ensure that the government gets the most out of its research dollars, and safeguard the public confidence in research results necessary for science's advancement.

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