There's a lot of private funding out there
That's why ethics is so important. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I assume people are willing to pay when you present them the results that they want.
They pay when the get the data they requested, whether or not they like the results or how happy they are to get them varies from project to project; hourly billing is hourly for the most part.
The only time they wouldn't pay is if we screwed something up and ruined their samples to the point they couldn't get data. TBH half the time we don't really know what the project is about though. They give us a vial of protein, we give them back a list of what's in it, that kind of thing. Out of the thousand odd billings we've done we've only ever had problem collecting on maybe 4 or 5 of them? Something like that. It's not usually a problem.
As far as unethical, the biggest problem would be someone misinterpreting the results, or seeing something there that isn't. We can give them our interpretation, tell them about all sorts of statistics, but there are a few people out there that will latch on to any lead they like no matter how little the data actually supports it. Really though, they're the ones that don't come back anyway, it's pretty obvious when a researcher is grasping at straws... Edited, Aug 30th 2013 4:03pm by someproteinguy
That monster in the mirror, he just might be you. -Grover