The vast majority of allegations of scientific dishonesty that have become gen-
erally known have been raised (and to some smaller degree confirmed) in the
USA. Conditions there are well and accessibly documented (26, 39), so that a
brief summary will suffice here.
Owing to the structure of research funding in the USA, every case of scien-
tific misconduct which led to a broader public discussion there from the end
of the 1970s to the present time involved at least one of the two large federal
research funding agencies. These are:
The National Science Foundation (NSF). Established in 1950, it has an an-
nual budget approaching 4 bn. US-$ (2012: 7 bn. US-$) which support re-
search in the natural and engineering sciences, and also the behavioural
sciences including such fields as linguistics, psychology, and social sciences,
and in addition programmes in science education. It is an independent fed-
eral agency.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH). Their beginnings reach back to the
year 1888, and they have existed under their present name since 1948 (72).
There are 13 institutes (2013: 21) carrying out biomedical and clinical re-
search. At the same time, some 80 per cent of their total budget which ap-
proaches 14 bn. US-$ (2012: 30 bn. US-$) are spent on grants and contracts
to universities and research institutions. The NIH are thus the largest re-
search funding organization in the world. They are a federal agency within
the jurisdiction of the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).
Both the NSF (in 1987) and the NIH (in 1989) have published definitions of
scientific misconduct and regulations for handling allegations thereof. They are
similar, but not identical, and are binding for all grantee institutions, which
must show that they have established an internal procedure for dealing with
allegations of scientific misconduct.
The responsibility for dealing with such cases rests primarily with the uni-
versities and research institutes. Their rules, largely following a model worked
out by the Association of American Universities (73), typically provide for a
two-step procedure:
An informal preliminary phase (“inquiry”) serves to clarify whether it is nec-
essary to open a formal investigation.
Experiences outside Germany
Basis of the Commission‘s Work in 1997 –