What Caught Our Attention: When authors decide they want to make their articles freely available after they’ve already been published, how should publishers indicate the change, if at all? Recently, Ross Mounce (@rmounce) thought it was odd a Springer journal issued a formal correction notice when the authors wanted to make their paper freely available, and we can’t say we disagree. As he posted on Twitter:
The University of Copenhagen has stripped Milena Penkowa of her doctoral degree, after determining she had covered up problems with her research.
According to a release issued today by the university, Penkowa falsified documents to allay suspicions that she had not performed some animal experiments as she’d reported.
This development is the latest in a long story: In 2015, the Copenhagen City Court ruled that Penkowa had forged experiments as part of her thesis, and handed her a nine-month suspended sentence. Penkowa appealed that ruling, and last year, another court dismissed the most serious charges.
But there was enough evidence for the University of Copenhagen’s Faculty’s Academic Council to vote unanimously last week to revoke her degree:
In six weeks, new policies for handling misconduct in Denmark will go into effect, which alter the definition of misconduct and establish clear policies for who handles such allegations.
Starting July 1, research misconduct will be limited to how it’s typically defined elsewhere — fabrication, falsification, and plagiarism (the previous definition included serious breaches of good scientific practices). All such allegations will be investigated by a central body, The Board for the Prevention of Scientific Misconduct — not at the institutions where the allegations are focused, as it has been in the past. Institutions, however, will remain responsible for investigating allegations of so-called Questionable Research Practices (QRPs) — such as only reporting data that support your hypothesis — and must publicize their policies for handling (QRPs).
The Board for the Prevention of Scientific Misconduct will replace the Danish Committees on Scientific Dishonesty (DCSD).
You can read the press release from the Ministry of Higher Education and Science here. We translated it into English, here.
According to the EOC notice in New Phytologist, two figures in the paper contained “some anomalies,” and the corresponding author has acknowledged that there are problems with the images.
Anti-terrorism researcher Nasrullah Memon has lost his PhD after a committee in Denmark found he had plagiarized his doctoral thesis.
He’s also recently been let go by his latest employer, the University of Southern Denmark in Odense; a spokesperson for the university told us the decision stemmed from budgetary cutbacks, and was unrelated to the loss of his PhD.
We previously reported on 15 retractions for papers co-authored by Memon; in 2014, the Danish Committee on Scientific Dishonesty (DCSD) ruled that Memon’s thesis had been plagiarized.
In May this year, an official from Aalborg University (AAU) in Denmark — where Memon earned his PhD — told us the university was considering whether to revoke Memon’s PhD. They ultimately decided to do so, Inger Askehave, AAU’s pro-rector, told Retraction Watch: Continue reading Danish university revokes PhD of anti-terrorism researcher
A Copenhagen court has cleared neuroscientist Milena Penkowa of the most serious charges against her after she appealed a 2015 verdict that she had faked data.
According to the CPH Post, the Eastern High Court in Copenhagen dismissed the case. Although the court acknowledged she had committed fraud, it declared it was not “serious forgery.”
On Facebook, Penkowa posted a message (according to the Facebook translation): Continue reading Danish court dismisses charges against neuroscientist in appeal of fraud verdict
We previously reported on eight pulled papers authored by Memon, based at the University of Southern Denmark in Odense. There was some confusion over whether his count then increased to nine — but, following a retracted retraction, his total was back to eight.
Now, it seems like the retracted retraction has been re-retracted, and six other of Memon’s publications have been pulled. Memon has also been found guilty of plagiarising his PhD thesis, and more of his work is being questioned online.
The retraction notices for the newly pulled material — all published by Springer — include the following statement: Continue reading Seven more retractions for anti-terrorism prof brings count to 15
A Danish court has determined that psychologist Helmuth Nyborg did not commit misconduct in a controversial 2011 paper which predicted an influx of immigrants into Denmark would lower the population’s average IQ by the latter part of this century.
The ruling, reported by the Danish newspaper Politiken, overturns a previous finding of misconduct by the the Danish Committees for Scientific Dishonesty (DCSD). It’s yet another example of scientists bringing academic disputes to the courthouse — just last year, a Danish court overturned another misconduct ruling by the DCSD against physiologist Bente Klarlund Pedersen.
The 2011 paper by Nyborg, “The Decay of Western Civilization: Double Relaxed Darwinian Selection,” appeared in Personality and Individual Differences, and quickly aroused concerns in a group of Danish scientists. The main charges: That the article denied authorship to another author, and misused a reference.
As first reported in the Danish press, an inquiry by the Danish Committees for Scientific Dishonesty (DCSD) concluded in 2013 that: Continue reading Denmark court clears controversial psychologist of misconduct charges
PLOS Biology has retracted a paper about the molecular details of β-catenin expression following an investigation by the first author’s institution in Italy.
The investigation, by the Istituto Nazionale per la Ricerca sul Cancro, found that there were multiple “figure anomalies.” According to the note:
An explanation of inadvertent error was given for some of the issues identified, while for two issues, a satisfactory explanation could not be provided.
First author Roberto Gherzi says none of his co-authors helped prepare the figures. The authors maintain that the conclusions are unaffected, but that assurance wasn’t enough for the journal. Here’s more from the lengthy retraction note, which provides some backstory on the “serious concerns” regarding the data:
In a rare development, neuroscientist Milena Penkowa has been sentenced by a Danish court for faking data.
The ruling, from the Copenhagen City Court, resulted from Penkowa’s publication of her 2003 thesis describing experiments that she never carried out. The court “placed weight” on the fact that she didn’t just commit fraud, but “systematically supplied false information” to avoid being caught, according to the court’s notice.
The sentence is nine months of “conditional imprisonment,” according to our translation; The University Post, a newspaper affiliated with the University of Copenhagen, calls it a “nine month suspended sentence with a two years probation.”
Here’s the full summary of the new ruling, from the Copenhagen City Court (translated from Danish by One Hour Translation):