Greg Garcia Case supplemental information.

As mentioned in the Carmen Choi case supplement, officially, a grant proposal submitted for consideration by a funding agency is viewed as confidential information. Not only does this mean that the researchers asked to review the proposal are not supposed to share it with anyone else, but they are also usually instructed to destroy all paper and electronic copies of the proposal when they are done writing their review of it for the funding agency.

Many grant proposals now include a statement from the person submitting the proposal attesting to the fact that they themselves have written the proposal, come up with the ideas driving the proposed research, and affirm that the information presented in the proposal is, to the best of their knowledge, accurate. Federal funding agencies regard it as a serious matter if someone claims the work in a grant proposal is original and accurate when it is not.

Greg Garcia Case frequently asked questions

Carmen Choi says that Hal Edmund's synthetic pathway is identical to hers but doesn't actually work. Can Greg Garcia know that that's true?

SInce Greg Garcia has been working with Carmen Choi as she revises her grant proposal, he has probably seen enough to know that Hal Edmund's synthetic pathway matches Carmen's. However, unless he's done the experiments himself (which he hasn't), he wouldn't be able to tell that the magnesium-intermediate doesn't work.

How important is it for Greg Garcia to cultivate personal relationships in his professional community?

While personal relationships are not something you're explicitly scored on (like publications or grant money) in your tenure evaluation, they can make a real difference. Relationships with colleagues in his department matter because these colleagues will be the ones evaluating Greg Garcia to decide whether he should get tenure or not. Relationships with other members of the professional community of biochemists matter too, not only because they may provide collaboration opportunities or invitations for Greg to present his work elsewhere, but also because Greg's tenure evaluation may includes letters from scientists at other institutions evaluating Greg's research and impact on the field of biochemistry.

If Hal Edmund was a reviewer on Carmen Choi's grant proposal and stole her idea, would he get in trouble?

If the granting agency found out about it, yes. However, it might be very hard to prove such theft, especially since peer reviewers are often working in the same scientific area -- and on some of the same hot problems -- as the people submitting the grant proposals. It might be possible for the reviewer to say they had already worked out the same experimental method themselves. In this case, it might come down to demonstrating through actual experiments that Hal Edmund's synthetic pathway doesn't work.

Could exposing Hal Edmund as a thief get Carmen Choi into trouble?

Maybe. Carmen did put an intentional mistake into a grant proposal, which amounts to lying to the granting agency and the peer reviewers. As it happens, that intentional mistake seems to have caught a peer reviewer breaking the rules by stealing an idea from a proposal under review, but that doesn't mean Carmen didn't also break the rules.