While agreeing with the article in large part, it starts from a somewhat misguided position. Take a read and see what you think.
"Trust is the crown jewel of the research enterprise. Financial arrangements related to research that call into question the integrity of investigators or research institutions are damaging, not only because they may potentially harm research participants, but because they are associated with the appearance of impropriety. Either way, trust is compromised."
This misunderstands the nature of science. Science is, at its core, based not trust, but on it's very opposite - scepticism. Obviously, some researchers are trustworthy, whilst others are liars. But trust is about predictability - even criminals trust one another to some extent. Companies trust Key Opinion Leaders. Our perception of "what science is" limits the range of solutions we see. It also determines which problems we choose to ignore.
Mertonian idealsRobert Merton (1973) described four norms that are prerequisites to scientific activity:
- Organised skepticism: (Nothing is ever taken on trust)
- Universalism: (acceptance of the integrity of research relies on its merits, and not the black/white/Jewish/Hindu status of the resercher, or whether that researcher is a funded opinion leader like Martin Keller or Richard Eastell)
- Communalism: Sharing of information, absence of secrecy (inappropriate refusal to release data or methodological information makes work unscientific by definition)
- Disinterestedness: (Not committed to any ideology - able to criticize and accept research based on its merits, not on a prior view that "vaccines are bad", or "doctors are corrupt")
Trust is important. Trust doesn't always work out that well.
The Gordon Brown reference1. Macleod, Catherine (2007-05-18). Take me on trust 'Humbled' Brown pledges open and honest government. The Herald (Scotland).
Hat tip: Professor David Healy