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Cell Mol Biol (Noisy-le-grand). 2003 Jun;49(4):565-77.

What should the standard of proof be in scientific misconduct proceedings relating to public health service-funded research?

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James E. Rogers College of Law, University of Arizona, AZ 85721, USA.


This article discusses the nature and purposes behind the three standards of proof commonly used in the United States. It summarizes the analytical constructs or standards of review courts commonly use to determine the constitutional validity of standards of proof (as well as other procedural protections) in physician disciplinary proceedings. It applies these constructs to the context of scientific misconduct and an illustrative case, and shows that sound policy and morals as well as procedural due process and equal protection provisions of the United States and some state constitutions require the use of the clear and convincing evidence standard of proof in scientific misconduct proceedings. That standard is necessary to protect scientists from misuse of scientific misconduct charges and proceedings, entailing, as they do, vast discretion in bureaucratic officials as well as staggering costs. The imminent rule making proceedings at the federal level will provide a special opportunity to right a wrong that long has been long visited upon academic scientists throughout the United States.

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