Researcher who faked positive results of HIV vaccine given 4.5 year prison sentence : news
[–]ayotechnology 11 points 2 hours ago
Thu Jul 2 05:19:39 2015 - permalink -
This is why I can't wait to get the hell out of academia. It's a huge circle jerk with the whole goal not to produce useful, well thought out scientific research, but to have papers published. Sometimes they overlap, but not always. Add the gutting of funding, despite the fact that the number of tenure track positions is roughly the same, and you get problems. Unless someone just wants to perform research for the better of humanity, then I can't see anyone staying in academia. The amount of money paid for the amount of work/stress in this day and age doesn't seem worth starting the tenure track.
[–]wonkydonky [score hidden] an hour ago
Unless someone just wants to perform research for the better of humanity
Industry is for performing research to make your boss's boss's bank account bigger.
They're both fucked in their own ways, but at least academia lets you feel like your helping the world and not just dedicated your life to increasing the wealth gap, which IMO, is a wonderful feeling.
[–]michaelhe 41 points 3 hours ago
Yep. My PI at UTSW is tenured, but the school only guarantees like 10-15% of her salary. The rest has to come from grants...so I'm not really sure what the point of tenure is
[–]Linearts 79 points 3 hours ago
I think it was originally created to protect professors from political opponents of universities who wanted people with opinions who contradicted theirs fired, so creating tenure made it possible for academics to speak their minds freely without being censored.
[–]twhayes 10 points 9 hours ago
Worse than that, look at Charles Nemeroff who, while at Emory, worked on drugs from Glaxo whilst being paid $5000 a pop at conferences (sometimes three pops a weekend) to talk about the benefits of Glaxo drugs, and then reported research on off-label psychological benefits of Glaxo drugs (reports ghost written by Glaxo researchers) in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology while Editor of the journal. Grassley went after his ass too. Nemeroff is still in Academia, even after some kid killed himself while using an off-label Glaxo product that probably didn't work.
[–]stevecsghost 10 points 7 hours ago*
I strongly don't believe that he did this with any financial gain in mind. He was the lab manager, not the principle investigator (lab boss) and as far as I know lab managers get paid a steady salary regardless of the lab's funding. It's possible that he was given a raise but a raise for a lab manager is not a lot.
This was going on since 2008 and they paid back 500,000 for his salary. Sounds like he was making just over 100k a year.
So unless the lab was at risk of running out of funding he didn't benefit financially very much by faking results. The risks just do not out weigh the financial rewards. He knew the risks. He was aware that there would be verifications required, every lab knows any big finding will be scrutinized. Even lab technicians would know this finding would be followed up on all over the place.
I believe that he learned of the mistake after the results were published and possibly after application for funding renewed. Certainly after his lab had celebrated. I believe when he found out what happened he panicked, and he was not man enough to face his boss and deliver the bad news. It would be like telling your boss that you accidentally killed his child. That's how big these things feel like to scientists. It was fear, I really think so.
Let me be clear I'm not excusing what he did. He was a coward, plain and simple. I'm glad he's being punished for it. Science can only survive when you're constantly vigilant to strike out falsification. But, he didn't do it out of malice or greed, he did it out of fear.
[–]keep_it_civil [score hidden] 2 hours ago
I work in a lab. My first thought was that this guy was scared.