Boffey, Philip M. "Two Critics of Science Revel in the Role," New York Times, 19 April 1988,

 

Boffey, Philip M. "Two Critics of Science Revel in the Role," New York Times, 19 April 1988,
pp. C1, C7.

This Times reporter is describing the work of Stewart and Feder in uncovering fraud in science.
The pair has become famous by being the "busiest center for receiving scientific fraud
complaints." (p. C7) They are the authors of a study concerning the co-authors of John Darsee.
Most recently, they have gained attention by attacking work of a team headed by David
Baltimore.

Feder and Stewart are here handled as something like celebrities. They are described
professionally in terms of their contributions to science. Feder, the senior man, is a physician
who has not published much; Stewart is a brilliant researcher who also has not published much
but who showed promise earlier. Indeed, this article suggests that with all the promise he
showed, it is remarkable that he continues to muck around in the sewers of science.

The pair has been blessed by some and cursed by others; representatives of both sides are quoted
here. For the supporters, John D. Dingell is quoted as saying: "N.I.H. has been simply unwilling
to face the critical issues of fraud and misconduct. Stewart and Feder have had the courage to fill
at least part of the vacuum, and they've played an important role in focusing public debate." (p.
C7)

Speaking for the opposition is Daniel Koshland, who is quoted as saying, "Stewart and Feder
have exaggerated the amount of fraud by lumping together fraud and misconduct and then
defining misconduct to include things like poor proofreading. It can do great damage to raise
serious questions on the basis of flimsy accusations. It reminds me of McCarthyism." (p. C7)
(When Stewart asked, in a letter to Koshland, 18 May 1988, for clarification of these accusations,
he was brushed aside with references only to materials published in Science.)

"In describing their work in science, a Congressional staff member said: ‘Stewart comes across
as a bit fanatical, but that's not necessarily bad. Only somebody like that is going to do the work
he does, which is really important.'" (p. C7)