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

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Medical Research: Missing Data


The elaborate exercise under way to make out that the theft of research data from the offices of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) was an unimportant event, even a routine petty criminal act, would be laughable had it not been for the serious questions it raises with regard to the manner in which research data are treated and the low value they are accorded.

One night sometime earlier this month, intruders broke into the computer room of the epidemiological and communicable diseases unit of the ICMR, broke open nine computers and systematically removed their hard disks. The data reportedly comprised both published and unpublished material from many research projects carefully collected and documented over many years. More alarmingly, this unit appears to have been the storehouse of data from the ICMR's research centres across the country. The crooks did not touch any other equipment, some quite expensive and easily disposable, nor did they enter other computer areas.

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