In DepthScientific Publishing

Publication ban upends NIH lab, collaborators

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Science  24 Feb 2017:
Vol. 355, Issue 6327, pp. 783-784
DOI: 10.1126/science.355.6327.783

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Summary

At least two dozen junior and senior researchers are stuck in scientific limbo after being barred from publishing data collected over a 25-year period at a National Institutes of Health lab. The unusual ban follows the firing last summer of veteran neurologist Allen Braun by the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders for what many scientists have told Science are relatively minor, if widespread, violations of his lab’s experimental protocol. Most of the violations, which were unearthed after Braun himself reported a lapse, involve the prescreening or vetting of volunteers for brain imaging scans and other experiments on language processing. The fallout from the case highlights a not-uncommon problem across science: the career harm to innocent junior investigators following lab misconduct or accidental violations on the part of senior scientists. But this case, say those familiar with it, is extreme.