Friday, May 12, 2006

English.chosun on Hwang indictment: Hwang shocked?

English.chosun discusses the charges against the associates of Hwang: The researcher, Kim Seon-jong of the MizMedi fertility clinic, was indicted for tampering with research. Other collaborators - Prof. Kang Sung-geun and Lee Byung-chun of Seoul National University and Prof. Yoon Hyun-soo of Hanyang University - were also charged with embezzling research funds. Prosecutors recommended disciplinary action for another collaborator, Dr. Lee Yang-han of the National Institute of Scientific Investigation.

Some associates escaped indictment: Prosecutors dismissed claims by die-hard Hwang supporters that Hwang collaborators Prof. Moon Shin-yong of SNU Medical College, the head of MizMedi Hospital Roh Sung-il and Kim conspired to deceive Hwang.

The article discussed the "false publication" issue: Prosecutors say they will take no separate action over the fabrication of data in Hwang’s published research. “There is no precedent in the world where someone has been punished for fabricating research results, and the matter should be left to academic mechanisms,” a prosecutor said. However, the fraud charge is based on the fabrication of two papers published in the journal Science in 2004 and 2005 that netted Hwang massive research funds. The obvious inquiry is whether "academic mechanisms" are up to the task. There is some question as to how well they worked at the University of Pittsburgh in the Gerald Schatten matter.

The article also noted: Hwang made no public comment but was reportedly shocked by the indictment since he had been convinced the probe would exonerate him and planned to resume research.

Is this shock as in "gambling in Casablanca"? Did Hwang expect no consequences for violating the Korean bioethics law? If so, would Hwang's viewpoint about bioethics law be shared by other stem cell researchers? The Proposition 71 folks in California might want to know the answer to that one. Do all the proposals about research ethics have teeth, or are they viewed as "gambling in Casablanca"?


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