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March 18, 2014

"Secretive, Autocratic, Unaccountable"

That's how the director of the Office of Research Integrity (ORI), whose job it is to monitor biomedical research misconduct, describes HHS:

In his letter, David Wright writes that working with ORI’s “remarkable scientist-investigators” was “the best job I’ve ever had.” But that was only 35% of his job; the rest of the time he spent “navigating the remarkably dysfunctional HHS bureaucracy” to run ORI. Tasks that took a couple of days as a university administrator required weeks or months, he says. He writes that ORI’s budget was micromanaged by more senior officials, and that Koh’s office had a “seriously flawed” culture, calling it “secretive, autocratic and unaccountable.” For example, he told Wanda Jones, Koh’s deputy, that he urgently needed to appoint a director for ORI’s division of education. Jones told him the position was somewhere on a secret priority list of appointments. The position has not been filled 16 months later, David Wright notes.

OASH itself suffers from the tendency of bureaucracies to “focus … on perpetuating themselves,” David Wright writes. Officials spent “exorbitant amounts of time” in meetings and generating data and reports to make their divisions look productive, he writes. He asks whether OASH is the proper home for a regulatory office such as ORI, noting that Koh himself has described his office as an “intensely political environment.”

David Wright makes no mention of a recent letter to ORI from Senator Charles “Chuck” Grassley (R-IA), who has complained that ORI was not tough enough on an AIDS researcher at Iowa State University who faked data to obtain nearly $19 million in NIH funding. ORI barred the researcher, Dong-Pyou Han, from participating in PHS-funded research for 3 years, but Grassley has asked why ORI did not make him return federal grant money or impose harsher sanctions (more at Retraction Watch).

Yet we're supposed to hand over more of our hard earned money to these folks?

Posted by Cassandra at March 18, 2014 06:55 AM

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Hand it over or have it taken...it matters not to Xerxes and his minions.

Posted by: DL Sly at March 18, 2014 12:37 PM

The initials have different meaning.

ORI is not "Office of Research Integrity" but Operational Readiness Inspection.
A Regular official period of testing by Higher Head Quarters.

I will not allow my wife to even consider the KIA cars. To me KIA is Killed In Action.

Posted by: Bill Wilson at March 18, 2014 01:02 PM

I'm glad I'm not the only one who made that connection.

Posted by: DL Sly at March 18, 2014 01:41 PM

Gov't office of ORI is an oxymoron.

Posted by: CAPT Mike at March 20, 2014 07:16 PM