I have read accusations that scientist are not always honest; that they produce reports to impress bosses, for example, in tobaco laboratories, drug companies, etc. In such institutions scientists “have a strong motive to fudge data;” they are payed to please. Commenting to this I wrote:
This observation calls for a clarification of the concept "scientist." Most often this term is used to describe a person preoccupied with an investigation in the physical world. Perhaps this is too broad. I suggest the following definition: "a scientist is a person who is not only preoccupied with physical matters but is also trustworthy." By "trustworthy" I mean "does not hide anything."
Here is one real situation. A claim was made, about a year ago, that a desirable energy-producing device was invented in Italy. About a mounth ago a prototype was actually demonstrated at Bolognia University.
Heat was generated as hydrogen gas was flowing through a niclel powder mixed with a catalyst. The inventor, Andrea Rossi, did not answer the question about the nature of the catalyst. One of my colleagues was present at the demonstration, standing next to it. He brought a portable instrument able to analyze nuclear radiation escaping from the device. But the demonstrator did not allow him to turn the instrument on. Because of this, I no longer think that Rossi is a scientist.
How would secrecy be justified by him? He would probably refer to undesirable competition, and to possible future difficulties with patenting the device. This is understandable. Secrecy is OK, but only up to the time at which the invention is publicly announced. A true scientist would not prevent my colleague from turning the instrument on; a true scientist would provide information about the chemical composition of the powder. Rossi certainly knows what is expected from a scientist. But he also needs money from potential investors. The demo at the university was probably designed to impress them. Ethically standards in business are not the saame as in science.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Ludwik Kowalski, author of a free ON-LINE book entitled “Diary of a Former Communist: Thoughts, Feelings, Reality.”
It is a testimony based on a diary kept between 1946 and 2004 (in the USSR, Poland, France and the USA).
The more people know about proletarian dictatorship the less likely will we experience is. Please share the link with those who might be interested, especially with young people, and with potential reviewers. Thank you.
I suggest the following definition: "a scientist is a person who is not only preoccupied with physical matters but is also trustworthy." By "trustworthy" I mean "does not hide anything."
This seems to be a non-standard, and self-serving definition of the word trustworthy. Unless the person in question has betrayed an obligation to reveal something, I don't think we should call that person untrustworthy simply because he does not tell you what you want to know on the schedule you expect.
Secrecy is OK, but only up to the time at which the invention is publicly announced.
I have a different idea about this. In the interest of full disclosure, let me admit to being a patent attorney.
At the time of the announcement, it is quite possible that the inventor did not have a fully proven invention to share. If the inventor had any intention of obtaining a patent on his invention, he would not reveal anything until he knew enough to actually practice the invention and to describe his invention and how to practice it in a patent application. Even at this point there may be details that the inventor must protect.
I would suggest being careful when throwing about accusations of untrustworthiness, lack of ethics, and unfitness for their occupation. In the US at least, those types of comments, border on being defamatory when they are not accurate.