Thursday, March 29, 2007

Even MORE Followup on the Bubble Fusion Fiasco

Those of you who haven't followed this so far may want to read several posts in this blog.

In the March 29, 2007 issue of Nature, Purdue University Provost and vice president for research responded to Nature's earlier report on this debacle. You should read the whole letter, but I will quote only this very last part of it:

Purdue University's policy on research integrity states: "The mere suspicion or allegation of wrongdoing, even if totally unjustified, is potentially damaging to a person's career. Consequently, no information about charges of a lack of integrity in research may be disclosed except to the appropriate university and federal authorities." Any response to an allegation of misconduct at Purdue will adhere to the letter and the spirit of that principle. We believe this is true at the vast majority of universities. Readers of Nature would not understand that truth from your coverage, nor would they be likely to conclude that a successful and fair inquiry might include a finding of 'not guilty'.

Let's get few things straight here:

1. Taleyarkhan's reputation is ALREADY under question. So this confidentiality to protect his reputation is MOOT!

2. If I were Taleyarkhan and I have just been exonerated, I want the report to be available out in the open.

3. If they can't release all the info, citing privacy concerns, then they should at least address why certain key people were never called to testify. This certainly can't break any privacy protection. This fact alone will lead the most of us to consider that this whole process is a sham.

4. In trying to protect Taleyarkhan's privacy and reputation, the puzzling actions by Purdue and confidentiality claims have managed to induce the OPPOSITE effect, not only on Taleyarkhan, but also on the university's image.

I wrote earlier that if Purdue thinks that by such actions that they would have laid this issue to rest, they have it seriously wrong. I rest my case.


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