Fraud, Compromise, and Political Influence in Scientific Research


 A compendium of scientific scandal from Bell (Economics/CUNY; You Can Win at Office Politics, 1984, etc.), who, in case after exhaustively detailed case of scientific research, exposes lying, cheating, and stealing. In both academia, with its cutthroat competition and links to corporate interests, and governmental contracting, rife with conflicts of interest, Bell unearths the failure of the scientific establishment to safeguard integrity. He demonstrates the ineffectiveness of the peer-review system at the National Science Foundation (a scientist's funding is cut off by rumors of a CIA link--most probably begun by a rival), and highlights how political patronage is involved in big-science funding (the locating of a $25 million earthquake-research center in Buffalo instead of at Univ. of California). Star Wars was funded against the advice of science advisors, Bell says: While Reagan was told that one component would be in production within three years, the scientist in charge of developing it said, ``The most you could say is that it didn't violate the laws of physics''--and his reports were buried. In medicine and elsewhere, whistle-blowers exposing fraud have had their careers derailed as the scientific establishment closes ranks around the accused. Bell contends that greedy pharmaceutical companies hide and doctor data, resulting in unnecessary deaths; and that Pentagon contractors overcharge and turn in defective weapons. (``At any given moment, roughly 60 of the top 100 Pentagon contractors are under criminal investigation.'') Mostly a dry barrage of facts and figures, but bound to create a stir.

Pub Date: June 3rd, 1992
ISBN: 0-471-52913-3
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Wiley
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15th, 1992