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Science and Ethics

consultingWhy is it that research done in academia, funded by a government agency, and published in a peer reviewed journal is considered to be more credible than research published in the same journal, but funded by industry? The issue I believe is the potential for a research scientist to be biased. I have worked in the field of toxicology for more than 25 years. During that time I have worked in academia and industry. Academia has traditionally been a place where basic research scientists could explore new ideas and extend scientific frontiers. But in the last two decades, the emphasis for academic researches has shifted from knowledge to money. Young researchers are expected to develop research programs that fund themselves, pay the salaries of their research associates, and in many instances for themselves as well. This of course is one requirement for tenure and means that there is a great deal of pressure to publish work that supports their hypotheses. This not only satisfies the need for publications as part of maintaining a good academic standing, but it also makes it easier to get additional funding. The point is that BIAS also exists in academia and academic research is just as susceptible to fraud as work carried out and funded by industry. In the end, the quality of the work is dependent on the character of the scientist.