India’s Kalasalingam University swiftly fires professor, kicks out six students after data manipulation scandal
Kalasalingam University in India has fired a professor who last month blamed unethical students for data manipulation that forced the retraction of three papers amid questions about five more.
As Krishna Pillai of the K2P blog reports, Sangiliyandi Gurunathan, head of Kalasalingam’s biotechnology department, was asked to resign, and did so on Friday, August 5. Kalasalingam also revoked the registrations of six graduate students who were co-authors on the retracted papers. Here’s the university press release with the details.
In comments to Retraction Watch for our earlier post, Gurunathan laid the blame on unethical students and journals, although his story didn’t quite hold together:
When I was in sabbatical leave my three students did mistakes without my knowledge, they committed their mistakes themselves. They committed only after detailed investigation. If they could inform in advance at least it shouldn’t be taken this much of damage to my lab as well as institute.
He also said that three graduate students would have to repeat their experiments and submit them in a year. We assume those three were among those now dismissed by Kalasalingam. We’ve contacted Gurunathan and will update with anything we hear back.
A Gurunathan withdrawal has appeared on Retraction Watch before. In October, we reported, thanks to Pillai, on Gurunathan’s retraction of “Nanosilver — The burgeoning therapeutic molecule and its green synthesis” from Biotechnology Advances. That retraction was for duplication of previously published material.
The move by Kalasalingam seems quite swift in comparison to those of other institutions. It seems to have been precipitated by a July 27 email to the university from Pillai in which he linked to our post and his own about the retractions.