When a researcher at a heavily-funded biomedical research lab reports that his team-mates are cooking the data, the solution is straightforward: fire the whistleblower, and keep moving.
Of course I have no competence to judge whether Daniel Yuan is right, and I have only limited confidence in mass-media reporters to grasp what’s going on. (Why not ask some people in the field to review the paper and Yuan’s criticism and say whether he’s on to something?) But the absence of a quote from someone senior at Hopkins saying “We’ve checked this over, and Yuan had it wrong” seems telling.
All money corrupts, and big money corrupts big-time. In the Middle Ages we had corrupt Church officials; today we have dodgy scientists. And the business model of the grant-funded parts of universities – and most of all of the medical schools – means that losing your funding means becoming a former scientist. There couldn’t possibly be more pressure to come up with something publishable, whether it’s accurate or not.
It seems to me that every university needs a research ombudsman, to whom a researcher with concerns about integrity can go and get an arm’s-length adjudication of his claims, with protection from retaliatory job action. If I were running NIH, I might want to make that mandatory for the top 100 grant recipients.