Parkinson’s researcher with three retractions heads to court on Monday

Caroline Barwood
Caroline Barwood

On Monday, Parkinson’s researcher Caroline Barwood will head to court in Brisbane, Australia, following a probe at her former institution, the University of Queensland (UQ).

Barwood was granted bail in November, 2014 — charges included  that she “dishonestly applied for grant funds,” and fabricated research that claimed a breakthrough in treating Parkinson’s disease, according to The GuardianIn March, Bruce Murdoch, a former colleague of Barwood’s at UQ, pleaded guilty to 17 fraud-related charges, and received a two-year suspended sentence after an institutional investigation into 92 academic papers.

We contacted Barwood about the upcoming trial, but she told us she is unable to comment on proceedings at this time, and didn’t provide the contact details for her attorney despite multiple requests.

An official at the court in Brisbane told us the proceedings are due to start at 10am on Monday, but it’s unclear how long the hearing will last, or when exactly a verdict will be reached.

A UQ spokesperson said the institution will send Retraction Watch a statement once the case concludes. Barwood and Murdoch both left the UQ in 2013.

Previously, we reported on three retractions and a “reader alert” for papers authored by Barwood, all of which were co-authored by Murdoch.

Earlier this year, when a decision was made on Murdoch’s case, The Australian reported that the UQ had returned the first two installments of a $300,000 bursary that the Lions Medical Research Foundation awarded Barwood.

At the time, a UQ spokesperson told us the university had also reimbursed around $175,000 to bodies that funded Murdoch’s work.

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10 thoughts on “Parkinson’s researcher with three retractions heads to court on Monday”

  1. I believe a similar policy in the USA and elsewhere would go a long way in diminishing the prevalence of research misconduct.

    Don Kornfeld

  2. This should be done to all authors that have been found to have falsified data, published false results and received fundings that could have gone to labs that actually do proper and honest work! Yes take a hint America…you guys have the highest number or papers retracted and authors that have falsified data.

    1. No, Roses. Not the higest number of retractions; rather, the most rigorous post publication peer review so far, which has not even started elsewhere, yet.

    2. I agree 100%. People who defraud the government of grant funds should go to jail.

      Regarding your statement that US has the most number of retractions, that may be true, but the more important metric is the fraction of papers found to be fraudulent. I suspect some other countries are worse.

      1. You are correct. But it is up to the research community to do the oversight, not some outside agency. If the offence is repeated the individual should be banned from society membership and that fact publicized.

      2. Not a good solution; the cost to convict could easily exceed the grant. Better to shame publicize the wrongdoers actions. That is a better deterrent since it hurts the pocketbook.

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