Dr. John Darsee was seen as a shining star between the mid-1960s to early 1980s. He had done ‘successful’ research studies in four different medical universities, namely Notre Dame, Indiana University, Emory University, and Harvard University. Reports had it that while at Harvard University, Dr. Darsee would spend more than 90hrs as a research fellow in the Cardiac Research Laboratory. In less than 2years at Harvard, he had made an outstanding seven publications in scientific journals. However, the curtains came down on him in 1981, when three of his Cardiac Research Laboratory colleagues saw him fabricating data. He labeled four data recordings 24 seconds, 72hours, one week, and two weeks, while only minutes had transpired in the real sense. He admitted with the reason that he had limited time, and this was his first time doing so. Investigations proved different, and what followed was his termination from research fellowships and withdrawal from the faculty position.
The National Institute of Health barred Dr. Darsee on NIH committees and from receiving any federal funds for a decade. Also, they demanded a refund of $122,371 to the government from Brigham and Woman’s Hospital (the hospital where he worked on the falsified data). At that time (1981), this was the harshest penalty taken on such a case. His supervisors were also criticized for supervisory malpractice which allowed him to fabricate data with ease. It is important to note that up to 9 published papers at Harvard were found to have been fabricated and surprisingly, his supervisors were the co-authors of the nine falsified papers. This affected all other work in progress or published works that were associated with Darsee. All works that sited Darsee’s experiments and sentiments were also revoked.
Nonetheless, Dr. Darsee’s case had a huge positive impact on research. Supervisors and scientists developed a habit for providing closer supervision of trainees and taking authorship responsibilities more seriously than before. Equally, Darsee’s case led to the development of guidelines and standards pertaining to research misconduct. However, Dr. Darsee’s reason for fabricating data is a cliché used by almost anyone engaging in research work including students at lower levels of learning. Even with stringent punitive actions, fabrication of data seems to always find its way in academic research, thus more needs to be done.
2. Cross Impact Analysis of John Darsee Fabrication of data
Objective: To discover why and how researchers engage in the falsification of data and how they can avoid it as executed by Dr. John Darsee.
Step 1: Founded on the evaluation of a work of relating variables, details, subjects, rules, activities, resolutions, performers, stakeholders, and results are recognized relevant to the objective.
The following has been used as a guide for identifying the variables.
• ethical, technical, and economic issues and problems
• affected parties (stakeholders) and their rights and responsibilities
• social and government constraints on possible solutions
• additional information that may be needed to make a good, ethical decisions
• Other courses of action that may be taken to realize the objectives.
• likely outcomes of other actions and decisions
• Options conferring to basic ethical values.
The variables have been identified and placed in the Variables table. The variable’s type has been identified as internal or external. The variables table is sorted on variable type before copying them into the CIM spreadsheet.
Type Category Variable name Description
Internal Researchers Dr. John Darsee A person who initiated the falsified research
Internal Researchers Co-researchers Helped in Dr. John’s research
Internal Information Falsified information malpractice Supervisory malpractice
Internal Publications 9 published papers Research papers published by researchers and scientists
Internal Society School systems Institutions where Dr. john had conducted successful research
Internal Institutional NIH committees Cut-off funds from the federal government towards Dr. John’s research
External Government NIH institute of Health Barred Dr. John from attending committees
External Government Brigham and Women’s hospital Where Dr. John Conducted the falsified information
External Society Supervisors and scientists Developed a habit of negative implications on Dr.Darsee’s research
External Government Cardiac Research Laboratory The Harvard University laboratory where the research was done
Table 1: A table showing Variables
Filling in the CIA Spreadsheet (Get the related Spreadsheet)
Captivating the variables one row at a time the impact or influence of a row variable on the variables in each column has been assessed. The values have been captivated in the range of -5 to +5 where -5 suggests a powerful negative influence and +5 points toward a powerful positive influence. The range selected is arbitrary.
After filling in the cross-impact analysis spreadsheet, the bottom row and the top row show the influence the system has on a given variable by netting out the positive and negative influences. The zero net indicates that the external variables are basically unaffected by the system. The positive impact implies that the internal variables are comparatively easy to alteration. The column at the left of the cross-impact analysis quantifies the total values of all of the effects a variable has on the system. This gives a suggestion of how powerful a given variable is in altering system behavior.
Variables are graded through the categorization of the variables big to minor on the top row (left to right) to show which variables are most subjective by the entire system. This is the starting point for the “What If Analysis”. The tables below are showing the rankings by the impact of variables on the system and by the system on the variables in Dr. John Darsee’s research fraud.
Impact of variables on the system
Type Category Variable name Variables impact on the system
Internal Researchers Dr. John Darsee 38
Internal Researchers Co-researchers at Cardiac research laboratory 37
Internal Information Falsified information malpractice 34
Internal Publications 9 published papers 27
Internal Society University systems 25
Internal Institutional NIH committees 19
External Government NIH Institute of Health 0
External Government Brigham and Women’s hospital 0
External Society Supervisors and scientists 0
External Government Cardiac research laboratory 0
Table 2: Impact of variables on the system
Systems impact on variables
Type Category Variable name System’s impact on variables
Internal Information Malpractice supervisory leading to falsified research 5
Internal Researchers Supervisors and scientists 4
Internal Publications 9 published papers 3
Internal Government NIH committees 2
External Government NIH institute of Health 0
External Government Cardiac research laboratory 0
External Society Supervisors and scientists 0
Internal Society Dr. John Darsee -4
Internal Society University systems -5
Table 3: Systems impact on variables
Discussion of variable rankings
These rankings offer significant understandings into the effects of Dr. John Darsee’s research fraud. The variables were noted to have rankings above 36. This demonstrates how many variables have a nearly equivalent power on the system. They are all internal variables. External variables such as the National Institute of Health Committees are far down the list.
The top three variables in terms of impact on the system are (1) Researchers Cardiac Research Field,
(2) Dr. John Darsee, (3), and Information malpractice. This is brought out by the fact that malpractice from supervisors led to the publishing of falsified information in the nine published research papers by Dr. John Darsee about the Cardiac Research.
It is equally important to observe that the three variables that are negatively impacted by the research fraud are (1)
Supervisors and scientists, (2) School Systems, (3), and Dr. John Darsee. These stakeholders experience ongoing negative magnitudes to the present day.
In relation to the objectives of this CIA analysis, the following are substances of consideration: the following:
• Fluctuating the magnitude or direction of impact of the most powerful variables.
• Eliminating a powerful variable from the scheme.
• Addition of powerful variables to the model.
Step 4: A Short Narrative Summary
In trying to avoid or alleviate this type of research deception, scientists have an influential power therefore competence starts with themselves. The fraud agent, Dr. John Darsee, continues to exercise his occupation to- date despite the fact that his reputation in research has been negatively tainted. Several mechanisms must be generated to eliminate culprits involved in research malpractice like Dr. John Darsee from continuing in the research arena.
Searchers and scientists in the current day continue to face negative criticism due to the research conducted earlier on by Dr. John Darsee. This has triggered close supervision of trainees involved in research which denies them enough for conducting intensive research. The National Institute of Health committees bar research fraudsters from being funded by the federal governments as well as demanding refunds in case research has been found to have conducted fraud research. Finally, close supervision and publication of information from a conducted research should be done especially for trainee scientists.
Step 5: Position and Plan of Action using the Critical Path Method (CPM)
i. Professional codes of ethics have a powerful influence on professional behavior. Academic and professional organizations should redouble efforts to make sure practitioners follow codes of ethics.
ii. Researchers must be practical in noble appraised publications to avert this kind of research fraud from being published.
iii. Professional, academic, and research organizations must be proactive in removing committers of research fraud from the research field.
iv. Research committees must be strengthened to prevent the abuse of human subjects as well as barring funding fraudster researchers by respective governments.
v. Social media must implement policies to factually verify research and science information before misinformation is published online or in research journals.
vi. Better ways of supporting healthcare professionals must be implemented to avert fraud in scientific research.
vii. School systems must be supported to prevent fraudulent research from being conducted in their institution. This is to prevent from being tainted for the fabricated information published to have carried out in their laboratories. The best example being Harvard University where Dr. John Darsee conducted Cardiac Research.
viii. Additional support for trainee scientists carrying out research through supervision by competent supervisors to prevent publication of falsified research information.
Sharing the Critical Path Method models with other communities widely
In sharing the critical path models to other communities, some of the proposed ethics in the plan may be repelled on the basis of First Amendment rights. There may be an affirmation that freedom of speech will be repressed if social media sites remove misinformation from their sites. However, stakeholders in the research field should be supported for them to carry out research in accordance with the research ethics. This planned models should be shared via the online and social media platforms.
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