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 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.”
The Cochrane Library has withdrawn two reviews evaluating the effectiveness of diabetes treatments because some of the papers’ authors work with pharmaceutical companies.
Bianca Hemmingsen, first author on both reviews, told us the Cochrane Library asked the authors to remove the researchers with ties to pharma, but after one “refused to withdraw,” both papers were pulled entirely.
However, Hemmingsen insists that their employment had no impact on either paper.
“Can Grayscale IVUS Detect Necrotic Core-Rich Plaque?”, a letter on the potential of intravascular ultrasound, was submitted under the name of a researcher at the University of Copenhagen, Erling Falk. The paper was sent with a Gmail account (a technique used by some academics to conduct fake peer reviews), and editors communicated with the author through the acceptance process.
Shortly after the letter was published, Erling Falk of Aarhus University contacted the journal and asked who wrote the letter. They discovered that nobody by that name worked at the University of Copenhagen and emails to the author’s Gmail address went unanswered. So the journal issued a retraction.
Danish judges have overruled scientists in that nation, concluding that a panel of experts erred in finding that physiologist Bente Klarlund Pedersen, of the University of Copenhagen, was guilty of misconduct.
Last September, Pedersen announced that she would fight the ruling of the Danish Committees on Scientific Dishonesty (DCSD, Danish acronym UVVU), which had said she had committed misconduct in four of 12 articles it had examined.
The authors of a 2014 paper on soccer injuries have forfeited their publication after revealing that the foundation of the work was based on faulty data. (Look, we could have written about letting air out of balls, yadda yadda, but the Super Bowl has come and gone.)
The article, which appeared in the Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, was written by a group in Denmark and Qatar led by Cristiano Eirale, a sports medicine researcher at the Aspetar-Qatar Orthopedic and Sports Medicine Hospital, in Doha. It showed goalies had a lower rate of injuries during training than field players.
The Danish Committees on Scientific Dishonesty (DCSD, Danish acronym UVVU) has partially reversed a December 2013 finding of misconduct against a scientist in Denmark, but has upheld most of its ruling.
Bente Klarlund Pedersen, whose case was tied up with that of Milena Penkowa, another scientist in Denmark found guilty of misconduct, committed misconduct in four of 12 articles examined, not six, the DCSD said in a statement last week.