EDITORIAL

Improving ERC Ethical Standards

Science  06 Sep 2013:
Vol. 341, Issue 6150, pp. 1043
DOI: 10.1126/science.1244098

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Summary

Imagine sitting over a pile of applications submitted to one of the most prestigious funding agencies. Suddenly, what you read appears familiar—not only the idea, but its terminology and the methods proposed. You recognize entire sentences because you wrote them. This scenario must have been an utter surprise for one of the European Research Council's (ERC's) evaluation panel members who, last year, stumbled across the most bizarre case of scientific misconduct that the organization has witnessed so far. The proposal, submitted some years earlier to a funding agency on a different continent, was copied by one of the reviewers, a highly recognized scientist, and then submitted to the ERC. It was pure chance that the former applicant detected the fraud.