If the mutilated body of one of your research subjects is discovered in a blood-soaked bathroom, who should investigate the death? If you want to be cleared of blame, it’s useful if the investigation is led by a colleague from your own department. If you were being paid by a drug company to recruit that subject into a research study, it’s best if your colleague is getting a paycheck from the same company. Best-case scenario: your colleague is on the university’s “conflict of interest” committee, too, just in case anyone raises questions.
Read more about the latest ethical issues in the Dan Markingson case in the Hastings Center Bioethics Forum.