University of Connecticut Health Center researcher Dipak Das found guilty of fabrication and falsification of data has raised the ‘Indian therefore harassed’ card heard so many times in the past in western scientific circles.
The researcher who worked on the health benefits of a chemical in red wine fabricated data in 145 separate research projects, a three-year investigation by the university has found. University officials have notified 11 scientific journal studies co-authored by Dipak Das of the fraud. The Jadavpur University alumnus, whose work focused on the grape skin antioxidant resveratrol, responded to the inquiry in a 2010 letter saying it was a “conspiracy against Indian scientists”.
“Careful examination of these papers (the inquiry report) would result in a striking feature. All the accused authors are of INDIAN ORIGIN…it is an entirely racial issue – war against Indian community and unfortunately I am also an Indian,” he said in a lengthy response to the inquiry defending himself and his Indian co-authors.
Now, why does this sound familiar? Why is it that falling back upon the ‘racial’ defense is the first response of many researchers found guilty of misconduct. We discussed the feeling of ‘third world alienation’ in another blog post earlier and got some pertinent responses.
It would be good to hear from our readers — based on their analysis of the charges by the University of Connecticut and the defense provided by Das — as to whether they think the racial card is played with or without much substance in many such cases. What’s your view of the whole issue as a case study in this regard?