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ORI Head Resigns

David Wright, the director of the US Office of Research Integrity, has resigned from his post in what ScienceInsider calls a "scathing" letter.

Wright took the helm of ORI in December 2011, ending a two-year stretch in which the office had no permanent director. As ScienceInsider notes, Wright took the job with the aim of strengthening ORI's training programs.

In his resignation letter, Wright says that heading ORI has been both the best and worst job. He writes that working with research institutes to better handle allegations of research misconduct and developing programming to promote responsible research been rewarding, but he laments the bureaucratic limitations of the position.

"I knew coming into this job about the bureaucratic limitations of the federal government, but I had no idea how stifling it would be," Wright says. "What I was able to do in a day or two as an academic administrator takes weeks or months in the federal government, our precinct of which is OASH."

For instance, he writes that he was prevented from spending $35 to convert cassette tapes to CDs for a talk he was to give on research integrity.

Additionally, Wright said that OASH was "secretive, autocratic and unaccountable," and that he was unable to fill a vacancy for an ORI division director for 16 months because of where the request fell on a secret priority list.

He did not, ScienceInsider points out, address recent concerns raised by Senator Charles Grassley regarding what Grassley considered lenient sanctions levied on a researcher found to have committed misconduct.

Wright will be returning to academia; he is a science historian at Michigan State University.

A spokesperson for the Department of Health and Human Services tells ScienceInsider that Don Wright (no relation to David Wright), who has previously served as acting director, will again take up that position.