Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Conflicts of interest

"Sources of bias in scientific expert testimony can be divided into three categories. The first does not, strictly speaking, involve conflicts of interest on the part of the experts, but it is nevertheless a source of bias: parties to litigation control both the testimony presented and, often, the scientific research that is the basis of that testimony. For example, an interested party might select experts who will present testimony favorable to the party's point of view rather than purely objective testimony, or it might choose to fund only research that it believes will reach results favorable to its position. The second problem is a more traditional conflict of interest: the inclination of experts to give testimony that favors a party or position in which the experts have a financial interest. The third problem is the possibility that the underlying research record itself may be distorted by conflicts of interest." - From Conflicts of Interest in Scientific Expert Testimony by Mark R. Patterson

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