Anderson, Christopher. "ORI Drops Gallo Case in Legal Dispute," Science 262 (19 November
1993), pp. 1202-1203.
This is Science's telling of the ORI's discontinuation of the Gallo case. The Office of Research
Integrity has dropped its charges in that it perceives that it cannot meet the rigid legal definition
of "misconduct" imposed on the office by its own appeals board. Gallo's defenders are saying
that ORI never had a case to begin with and it is now using this legalistic argument to end what
has become an embarrassment.
The issue: the appeals board, a court-like structure, insists that ORI prove that Gallo "intended"
to deceive. ORI did not feel it could provide data of that sort. This change in thinking about
misconduct reflects the legalistic position taken by the appeals board. But the critics have it
another way: "... critics contend ORI simply didn't have a case. ‘They're attempting to save face
by suggesting that the failure of their case is due to some ‘new definition' of scientific fraud,'
said Martin Delany, director of the AIDS group Project Inform, in a statement. ‘These people
have clearly lost their case on the basis of the evidence, yet they are now pretending otherwise.'
Others point to the board's criticism in the Popovic ruling of ORI's legal competence and
judgment. The board concluded ORI would have lost even under its own definition of
misconduct. Last week, Popovic's lawyer wrote to Donna Shalala, secretary of the Department of
Health and Human Services (HHS), asking her to stop ORI from claiming otherwise." (p. 1202)
Gallo says of himself that he is "completely vindicated." His lawyer thinks it is the beginning of
a "...new era..." for the researcher. They are contemplating label suits.
John Dingell's subcommittee is in the wings considering examining misconduct by officials
during the patenting of the AIDS virus along with "possible scientific misconduct on the part of
Gallo." (p. 1203) A Dingell's staffer is quoted as saying their investigation is more necessary
now than even. There is also a continuing investigation by the Inspector General of HHS which
It is also reported that morale at ORI has plummeted. Some successful investigations are reported
as completed and ORI hopes to "improve its chances of success by changing the rules to allow
the introduction of evidence purporting to show patterns of behavior that are not explicitly
misconduct. Such evidence would help it to prove intent. It also wants to add one or more
scientists to the appeals board, no made up of three lawyers. But ORI doesn't intend to give up
altogether on the court-like hearings process. Scientific misconduct cases ‘are so adversarial that
you're driven to a legalistic model,' says (ORI Director) Lyle Bivens." (p. 1203)