The director of the Division of Investigative Oversight at the U.S. Office of Research Integrity is leaving the agency.
Susan Garfinkel told Retraction Watch that her last day is November 10. She is taking a position as assistant vice president in the Office of Research Compliance at The Ohio State University (OSU).
Garfinkel declined to comment on why she was leaving the agency:
This is a personal decision that I’ve made.
Garfinkel joined ORI in 2003. As director of the Division of Investigative Oversight, she managed the team of investigators who oversaw the misconduct probes conducted by institutions, and proposed findings and administrative actions against people found guilty of misconduct.
Her departure follows a tumultuous period at the ORI, including the appointment of a new director, Kathy Partin (who began the last week of 2015), reports of staff unrest, and threats to resign. In addition, the agency appears on the outside to be somewhat less productive: It issued only seven findings of misconduct in 2016, compared to 14 in 2015 and 11 the year before. Partin spoke with us earlier this year about the issues facing the agency.
Garfinkel may not find her new position particularly relaxing. The OSU has recently faced questions about it had handled an investigation into one of its star faculty, Carlo Croce. This isn’t the first time the institution has been forced to take a second look at an investigation: Several years ago, the OSU found a pharmacy researcher guilty of misconduct after the ORI urged it to reopen the case.
The institution has been in the news for other reasons recently: In August, OSU revoked the PhD of a researcher who co-authored a paper about video games that was retracted earlier this year; in May, the senior author of a lawsuit-spawning study of the CrossFit exercise program resigned from his post one day after the paper was retracted.
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