What is Recklessness in Scientific Research? The Frank Sauer Case

David B. Resnik, Elise M. Smith, Stefanie H. Chen, Carlos Goller

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


On May 22, 2017, administrative law Judge Leslie Rogall of the Department of Health and Human Services’ Departmental Appeals Board, Civil Remedies Division, ruled in favor of the Office of Research Integrity (ORI) concerning its decision to charge former University of California at Riverside biochemistry professor Frank Sauer with research misconduct for fabricating or falsifying digital image data included in three papers and seven grant applications submitted to the National Institutes of Health. More specifically, Sauer was deemed responsible for manipulating, reusing, and falsely labeling images of autoradiograms and gels in his research in epigenetics. One month after this decision, ORI announced its final ruling concerning Sauer, which barred him from serving in any advisory capacity to the Public Health Services and required him to retract affected papers. The case raises some interesting and important questions concerning research integrity because it focused on the legal issue of what constitutes recklessness in scientific research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)497-502
Number of pages6
JournalAccountability in Research
Issue number8
StatePublished - Nov 17 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Collaboration
  • data management
  • misconduct in research
  • research ethics
  • research integrity
  • science policy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Library and Information Sciences


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