Monday, November 7, 2011

Curiouser and curiouser..... sharing the skeletons

Image from here

An independent investigation is not always the most intuitive thing to do when a problem arises. The management of an organization will always seek to retain control of the proceedings so that the damage can be contained should any wrong doing be uncovered. Yet we all know that a less than independent investigation will in the end prove to be the least beneficial for the organization in the long run.

A number of recent incidents locally highlight the need for external and independent invistigations or audits.

Late last year, an IVF mistake occured in Thomson Medical Centre. In response, the Ministry of Health held its own investigation rather than to leave it to the TMC to uncover and report its own lapses.

More recently, an accident occured in the Singapore Air Force. Apparent a technician ruptured his liver during an induction exercise. The internal Board of Inquiry, disclaimed any association with the activities during the induction. It was only after the coroner made its findings that the BOI backtracked and agreed to consider that the ruptured liver could have been related to the tunnel crawl during the induction activities.

Now there are allegations of publication fraud and self-plagiarisms at the NUS. One wonders if the NUS sees it as in their interest to keep the investigation 'in house' and secret. Should it not be in everybody's (including NUS's interest), to have an external party audit whatever happened? This is especially as senior members of the faculty are associated with the allegations. Even if the senior members are innocent of any wrongdoing, the perception that the investigations are less than independent is damaging to the credibility of the NUS.

Instead, there is this very bizarre situation where the lead investigator is a Director of Research Admin, in the Office of the Deputy President (Research&Technology) while his boss himself is the subject of certain allegations of self-plagiarism and is associated with two of the Melendez list of publications.

Curiouser and curiouser.

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