William M. Briggs

Statistician to the Stars!

Government Finds Clever New Way To Spend Your Money: NIH’s RePAIR

RePAIR my soul

Heard of the Office of Research Integrity? It’s one branch of the hydra-headed Department of Health and Human Services. HHS is the infamous agency that under Obamacare would mandate Muslim and Christian employers violate their religious beliefs by paying for their employees’ abortifacients. Why pay for abortions and not, say, toilet paper or food? “Shut up,” explained HHS’s chief.

Ignore that. Back to the ORI, a group which takes money collected by the IRS and that wantonly printed by the Treasury and then spends it on items no civilian desires, such as watching a program called RePAIR, an acronym for “Restoring Professionalism and Integrity in Research.”

Now that sounds mighty good. Who’s against professionalism and integrity in research? I am, when it costs me money. According to the breathless government press release:

[RePAIR] is a new program that “provides intensive professional development education for investigators who have engaged in wrongdoing or unprofessional behavior, including persistent non-compliance,” according to its leaders.

What we have here is a government program for the rehabilitation of persistent wrongdoers. Persistent? As in more than once? As in the government handed our money to a guy who cheated and was discovered, but was handed our money again and cheated again, was discovered again and was handed…well, you get the idea.

RePAIR was developed with NIH funding by a team of clinical, organizational, and developmental psychologists with input from remediation trainers, ethicists, lawyers, investigators and research administrators.

That’s eight groups of people who, with the generous support of NIH “funding”, created RePAIR.

Can the researchers be returned to the research community as trusted, productive members? Or are their careers tainted and doomed to failure?

These my dears are rhetorical questions, so indicated by the purple phrasing. An ordinary businessman who discovered an employee, perhaps dissatisfied at not receiving enough “free” stuff for his services, who persistently finagled, embezzled, and cheated his employer would fire him, and good riddance. But not the government; no sir. The government realizes that firing the man would make him feel bad, and there is in our society no worse sin than this. And so it will marshal all the resources at its command to ensure this man has soaring positive self esteem. How? Like this:

RePAIR’s premise is that an intense period of intervention, with multiple participants from different institutions who spend several days together at a neutral site, followed by a lengthy period of follow up activities back at their home institution, will rebuild their ethical views.

Sound like a reeducation camp to you? Or perhaps an chic “intervention”? Who knows. The ORI doesn’t. It says, “ORI doesn’t know whether RePAIR will work and cannot formally endorse it.” But they do find it “an intriguing and high-minded experiment.”

The RePAIR program is run out of St. Louis University, a semi-sorta-Catholic “social justice” institution run by Jesuits. RePAIR, thus, is in the right place. Its FAQ sagely announces, “The causes of wrongdoing or unprofessional behavior are typically complex, involving an interaction of the individual with the research environment.” This means the cheating happened at the office. RePAIR assiduously avoids “blaming or judging” the cheaters, because that would make them feel bad. You can read the rest at their site, but there are no surprises.

10 Comments

  1. Among their first participants, I hope, are a certain group of ‘real climate scientists’.

  2. Yawrate, I find that overly optimistic. I refer you to the RePAIR FAQ:

    6. Is the RePAIR program suitable for all investigators who have made bad decisions? (Back to Top)

    No. We recommend against referring investigators at two extremes—those who might benefit from a less intensive intervention, and those whose needs are greater than our intervention can meet

    Emphasis added.

  3. Irony comes into play when one considers in spite of everything, rehabilitation will still be more expensive than incarceration. But then what else is new?

  4. There is nothing a NIH worker can do to get fired. Nothing. This is not a boon to the workers; it’s an inescapable snare. Falsify, fake, lie through your teeth, steal, vandalize, even murder, but you cannot escape. They have you by the [insert body part here].

    The nod towards “integrity” is a feint. Nothing NIH does has any integrity. They are abortion queens, the lowest scum on the planet. All their research is tainted towards one end, killing humans. They are zombie mutant bloodsucker vermin and if there was any justice in the world they would be squished by their own jackboots.

  5. It was desinged specifically for the Hockey-Stick Man(n).

  6. I was hopeing the people that produce those phony EPA statistics would be sent to a reeducation camp.

  7. The proper location for such reeducation processes depends on the specific field in which the scientist worked and the nature of their misdeeds.

    Global Warming alarmists for example should be sent to Barrow Alaska for 1 year. With no electricity except for a small diesel generator. Let them have to deal with some real cold for a while then see if they still think global warming would be a catastrophe.

  8. MattS: I quite agree. I would go further. People sceptical of catastrophic global warming from human behaviour should be forced to spend a year on a tropical island. Let them find out what a warming climate would be like!

  9. @Rich,

    I don’t think that would change many skeptics minds. A year on a tropical island, please don’t throw me in that briar patch. :)

  10. Again, one has to ask why this is so difficult, the cure for non-compliance with a system or protocol is compliance, and the decision to do that costs willpower not money. And there is no amount of the second commodity that will offset lack of the first. A bit like supplying the French Army with rifles, never fired and only dropped once…

    Now if we were saying that bad research is done because researchers don’t have sufficient knowledge or skills in statistical, mathematical and computational methods and processes. It might actually be a valuable use of money to improve training and provide equipment and access to shared resources. Particularly if the pay-off was the open publication of all results including null and negative findings.

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