Biomedical Ethics Seminar Series

Why do good scientists do bad things?


The UCSD Biomedical Ethics Seminar Series meets quarterly for faculty, staff, and students to discuss selected ethics topics.To subscribe/unsubscribe to the Biomedical Ethics Seminar Series mailing list, please send an email to


June 16, 2021


Why do good scientists do bad things?

When a fellow scientist commits research misconduct, is insufficiently attentive to good scientific practices, or is less than collegial, our tendency is to explain the misbehavior as a consequence of the pressure to survive in academia. However, as the pressure is there for all of us, we should be asking why if this a risk for others, then why not me? In this presentation, we will reflect on the ways in which perverse incentives, blind spots, and a talent for rationalization put all of us at risk of unethical choices that we may never even recognize as ethical choices. Assuming this is true, then the goal will be to articulate strategies that might insulate us from missteps.


Michael Kalichman, Ph.D., Director of the UC San Diego, Research Ethics Program. 

Kalichman, trained in engineering and neuropharmacology, has taught research ethics since 1990. He has taught train-the-trainer, research ethics workshops throughout much of the world, and has helped in the creation of an Asia Pacific Research Integrity Network. The focus of his research includes the goals, content, and methods for teaching research ethics.