In DepthScientific Misconduct

Research watchdog's new leader faces staff revolt

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Science  26 Aug 2016:
Vol. 353, Issue 6302, pp. 856-857
DOI: 10.1126/science.353.6302.856

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The new director of the federal office that guards against misconduct in U.S.-funded biomedical research is aiming to shake things up—but is also encountering rough waters. Kathryn Partin, who took the helm of the Office of Research Integrity (ORI) in December 2015, has launched a top-to-bottom review of the office, which has been criticized for moving too slowly and meting out sanctions that lack teeth. But in one of several letters of protest to Partin’s superiors at the Department of Health and Human Services, many of ORI’s investigative staff recently expressed “profound concern about the tone and direction” she has taken. The letter contends that Partin is unjustifiably seeking to replace ORI’s two division directors. Partin declined to comment on the staff turmoil and spoke only in general terms about her plans in her first interview since taking over.