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.