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.