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Section Three: Institutional Responsibility

CASE STUDY: Expensive Lesson*

Dr. Carolyn Phinney was a research psychologist at the University of Michigan in 1989 working under the supervision of Dr. Marion Perlmutter in the Gerontology Institute. In a discussion with a colleague, Phinney expressed concern that Perlmutter had incorporated Phinney's research into an NSF grant application without crediting Phinney. Phinney alleged that Perlmutter had lied to her to obtain access to and steal her research and grant proposals.

If you were Dr. Phinney's colleague, which of the following choices would you make?

Encourage her to talk to the Institute Director, Dr. Richard Adelman, about her concern.

Talk to Dr. Adelman yourself about the situation.

Approach the Research Integrity Officer with your concern.

* This case is based on C. Anderson, "Michigan gets an expensive lesson," Science 262 (1993): 23, as reported in Berger, E. and Gert, B. and as reported in The Michigan Daily Online, "Court orders 'U' to pay $250,000." (As the point of this case analysis is to give readers opportunities to think through various choices, some of the choices offered here were not made in the real case).