Academics inform OHRP
regarding the filings of complaints of research misconduct
against J. Michael Bailey at Northwestern University


On August 18, 2003, Profs. Barbara Nash, Lynn Conway and Deirdre McCloskey informed the Office For Human Research Protections (OHRP), Department of Health and Human Services, in Rockville, MD about the recent filings of complaints of research misconduct against Bailey at Northwestern. They received an acknowledgement the following day. Those e-mails are posted below:



From: "Schwetz, Bernard A" <BSchwetz@OSOPHS.DHHS.GOV>
To: "'Barbara Nash'" <>
"Borror, Kristina" <KBorror@OSOPHS.DHHS.GOV>,
"Carome, Michael"
"Lin, Melody" <MLin@OSOPHS.DHHS.GOV>
Subject: RE: Complaints of research misconduct
Date: Tue, 19 Aug 2003 08:10:09 -0400

Thank you Dr. Nash--we will discuss this within OHRP and will get back with you. Bernard Schwetz


-----Original Message-----
From: Barbara Nash []
Sent: Monday, August 18, 2003 4:59 PM
To: Schwetz, Bernard A
Subject: Complaints of research misconduct

Hard copy to follow

Bernard Schwetz, Acting Director August 18, 2003
Office for Human Research Protection
The Tower Building
1101 Wootton Parkway, Suite 200
Rockville, MD 20852

Dear Dr. Schwetz,

We wish to bring to your attention the filing of several formal complaints of research misconduct with the office of the Vice President for Research at Northwestern University. We believe the complaints are of sufficient gravity that you should be made aware of them.

The complaints concern Dr. J. Michael Bailey, in his research for his recent book The Man Who Would Become Queen. We expect that you may have seen reports in the media about the controversy, such as the July 25 issue of Science ("Transsexuals up in arms over 'Queen' book" - p. 460) and the July 25 issue of The Chronicle of Higher Education ("Transsexual 'subjects' complain about professor's research methods").

The Joseph Henry Press describes Dr. Bailey's book as "based on his original research." Dr. Bailey devotes substantial portions of the book to descriptions of the intimate details of the lives of the handful of women he interviewed, and uses the interviews to bolster a taxonomy of transsexualism. The substance of the complaints registered with Northwestern University by the four women with whom we are acquainted is that 1) they were not informed they were subjects of research; 2) on the contrary, they provided the personal information exclusively to persuade him to write letters of recommendation for surgery; and 3) the women were not offered letters to sign for informed consent. It appears that Dr. Bailey's research was conducted without IRB review.

We are not registering a formal complaint with OHRP at this time. We feel, however, that you should be aware of the circumstances now.


Barbara Nash, Ph.D.
Professor of Geology and Geophysics
University of Utah

Lynn Conway, Ph.D.
Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Emerita
University of Michigan
Member, National Academy of Engineering

Deirdre McCloskey, Ph.D.
UIC Distinguished Professor of Economics, History, and English
University of Illinois at Chicago
Tinbergen Professor of Philosophy, Economics, and Art and Cultural Studies,
Erasmus University of Rottterdam


C: C. Bradley Moore, VP for Research, Northwestern University


Barbara Nash
Professor of Geology and Geophysics
University of Utah
135 South 1460 East, Rm 719
Salt Lake City, UT 84111
TEL: 801-581-8587
FAX: 801-581-7065



This page is part of Lynn Conway's
"Investigative report into the publication of
J. Michael Bailey's book on transsexualism
by the National Academies"