Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Should Scientists Be Audited?

I often wonder if  scientists (working on any project) in a university should be audited regularly.

Audited by an independent person who is independent of the specific project, subject and research group. The scientists in question would have to show that they can trace the ingredients they are using for experiments and prove that results are real (maybe the auditor would sit in on an experiment).

Would it help prevent mistakes, incorrect data, reduce paper retractions and increase credibility of science in general?

Or would it just be a big waste of time, money and be a painful process for everyone involved?

What do you think?


When I worked in industry, we were regularly audited in everything we did. I used to exist in a form of organised chaos, but knowing that anyone could ask to look at anything at any time (and they did), I became super organised.

It's a necessary, and very useful skill to have as a scientist but there isn't any pressure on me within my PhD, other than my own fear of the invisible auditor, to behave in this way. I have hopefully continued to be super-organised (or organised at least) throughout my PhD, although you might not believe me if you saw the state of my desk....

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