Academic Medicine

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Anonymity and pseudonymity in whistleblowing to the U.S. Office of Research Integrity.

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Given the concerns expressed by members of the academic and legal community about whether (and how) to handle anonymous and pseudonymous allegations of scientific misconduct, this paper summaries the experiences of the Office of Research Integrity and its predecessor from 1989 through 1997. Although the record shows that research institutions and the ORI have treated such allegations seriously, the fraction of complainants to the ORI who remain anonymous is small (8% of 986 allegations); few anonymous complaints are sufficiently substantive to be pursued (4% of the 357 formal cases opened in the ORI); and only 1 of these 13 cases resulted in an ORI finding of scientific misconduct.

(C) 1998 Association of American Medical Colleges


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