Here's the counter-example to the folks at Parkland Memorial Hospital, in terms of transparency and taking ownership for failure. After bouncing around the scientific world, the story regarding a Duke University School of Medicine researcher padding his resume went worldwide last year, but there were also questions raised about the methodology behind the three clinical trials. This kind of thing is an embarrassment to any institution, and the manner in which it is handled is indicative of the kind of leadership in place.
Hunt Willard, the Director of the Institute for Genome Sciences & Policy, has issued a letter to the community that makes clear he is the exemplar of what you would hope for. Here are the key excerpts:
These events represent a teachable moment for all of us, and I want you to hear directly from me about what I think it means for us.
It is very clear now that we were too slow to recognize and acknowledge flaws in the underlying data, insufficiently attentive to the need to carefully track versions of both data and software, and inadequately responsive to external publications and communications that pointed out errors in the underlying data. All of these indicate a need for a tighter process, and I recognize all of this as a failure of leadership and a failure of oversight, failures for which, as director of the IGSP, I feel a level of responsibility.
In accepting responsibility for these failures, I underscore my deep commitment to the responsible conduct of research and to setting standards for accountability at all levels of our organization. I welcome your thoughts in this area, as well as any concerns you may have throughout the coming year.
Really, what more could you ever want from a leader? But there is more, a lesson in the nature and values of the profession:
Bravo to Dr. Willard and his colleagues.