ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Need for an Ethics Probe

Mmit Misra (“The Science and Politics behind the ‘New Delhi’ Superbug” EPW, 2 October 2010) made a timely commentary on the issue of superbug named after New Delhi. As he argued, the issue is not in the naming of the bug but the purpose behind it. His suggestion of a reverse blockade of imposing restrictions on the visitors will not work for obvious reasons.

More important is what Misra indicated about the one-sided publication control which is understood by almost all Indian authors. Citation malpractices mean that unless an article is published in the west, it has no value in India either. Normally, the west does not even acknowledge Indian work. This particular episode brings home the truth of being wary of Greeks (here the British) bearing gifts. In a TV discussion on this topic, one Indian co- author remarked that she was not aware of the implications of the conclusions of Walsh, which is strange indeed. Most media discussions have sidelined the main issues brought out by Misra and the possible lack of ethics, which is unfortunate. The relevant issue in such collaborations is their asymmetric nature, where the Indians supply samples, clinical or otherwise, and manpower (more than a pair of hands).

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