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Case of Manipulating Data; Moving Ahead

Category 2: Collecting & Managing Data


Post-doctoral researcher, Rolfe has recently arrived from Eastern Europe to do research under the direction of a young biochemistry faculty member, Professor Trendy. Rolfe's background does not match the research for which he has been hired, but he needs to advance his skill set and the professor needs a pair of hands in her lab. Professor Trendy is also an immigrant (from Western Europe) and wants to make sure that she is able publish quickly enough to get tenure. When Rolfe brings results to Trendy that only weakly support the hypothesis of a paper that Trendy plans to submit, she suggests that he delete some of the data points. Rolfe is reluctant to do so, but fears he will lose his position and have to return to a country with less career opportunity for him and his family.

Stage 1

What action do you think WAS taken?

A. Rolfe stalled for time, and kept reporting actual results from new tests, while quietly seeking a position with another professor in the institution.

B. Rolfe reported the incident to the department chair, and was helped in his efforts to maintain a different position in the department as a post-doctoral researcher.

C. Rolfe complied, and the results led to a publication that helped both his and Trendy's careers. As soon as possible he moved to find a different position.

D. The faculty in the department heard about the plan to falsified results and took action against both Trendy and Rolfe.

Stage 2

What action do you think SHOULD have been taken?

A. Rolfe should ask Trendy for a different project.

B. Rolfe should document the request and continue to give all results to Trendy, and not worry about whether or not she removes some data to get a publication.

C. Rolfe should seek help from other members of the research team.

D. Rolfe should comply with all requests, as he isn't ultimately responsible.

E. Rolfe should ask a co-researcher to try to repeat his experiments.

F. Rolfe should seek work with another faculty member.

G. Rolfe should seek work away from this institution.