US government watchdog gets new director

The U.S. Office of Research Integrity (ORI) has a new director.

Elisabeth (Lis) Handley, currently deputy operations director of the Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) Center for Program Integrity, will become interim director of the ORI on August 26. (CMS and ORI are both part of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)). Wanda Jones, formerly interim director and now deputy director, will remain at the agency in her current role.

Handley, according to an announcement sent to HHS employees,

Continue reading US government watchdog gets new director

Why did all of these retractions take more than three years?

via Flickr

In December 2015, a U.S. government watchdog said a researcher named Girija Dasmahapatra had faked data in 11 papers. Two of those papers were retracted by October 2016.

And then, until this year, nothing happened.

Continue reading Why did all of these retractions take more than three years?

“Our current approaches are not working:” Time to make misconduct investigation reports public, says integrity expert

C. K. Gunsalus

With the 6th World Conference on Research Integrity (WCRI) underway in Hong Kong, C.K. Gunsalus, who has served as a research integrity officer, expert witness in scientific integrity cases, and consultant, argues in Nature this week that universities should “Make reports of research misconduct public.” We asked her a few questions about why she has changed her mind about this issue.

Retraction Watch (RW): We have of course been campaigning for universities to release investigation reports for some time, and have published a number of them following public records requests and reviews of court documents. What led you to this call to make them public?

Continue reading “Our current approaches are not working:” Time to make misconduct investigation reports public, says integrity expert

Former BU prof falsified images, agrees to 5-year funding ban

A former researcher at Boston University (BU) committed research misconduct, according to the U.S. Office of Research Integrity (ORI).

William W. Cruikshank, formerly of BU’s Pulmonary Center,
“engaged in research misconduct by knowingly, intentionally, and/or recklessly falsifying and/or fabricating data” in a paper retracted in 2014, in an earlier version of that paper, in a seminar presentation, and in two grant applications submitted to the National Cancer Institute, the ORI reports.

Cruikshank did so by “copying blot band images from unrelated sources, manipulating to disguise their origin, and combining multiple images to generate new figures to falsely represent results using sixty-four (64) such band images” in 16 figures and related text.

Continue reading Former BU prof falsified images, agrees to 5-year funding ban

Former University of Washington researcher faked data, say Feds

Edward J. Fox, a former faculty member at the University of Washington in Seattle, faked data in a manuscript submitted to Nature and in an NIH grant application, according to new findings from the U.S. Office of Research Integrity (ORI).

Fox, who initially confessed to some of the misconduct when confronted by the university, “neither admits nor denies ORI’s finding of research misconduct related to grant application R01 CA193649-01A1,” the ORI said in an announcement. However, he Continue reading Former University of Washington researcher faked data, say Feds

A university thought its misconduct investigation was complete. Then a PubPeer comment appeared.

When Venkata Sudheer Kumar Ramadugu, then a postdoc at the University of Michigan, admitted to the university on June 28 of last year that he had committed research misconduct in a paper that appeared in Chemical Communications in 2017, he also “attested that he did not manipulate any data in his other four co-authored publications published while at the University of Michigan.”

And so, a few days later, Michael J. Imperiale, the university’s research integrity officer, wrote a letter to the U.S. Office of Research Integrity (ORI) informing them of the findings. On August 2, Ramadagu was terminated from Michigan. And on August 3, Ayyalusamy Ramamoorthy, the head of the lab where Ramadagu had worked, wrote a letter to Chemical Communications requesting retraction of the paper.

While the retraction would not appear until the end of November, and ORI sanctions not announced until the end of December, Michigan’s responsibilities seemed to have been discharged as of early August. But documents obtained by Retraction Watch through a public records request detail how that was not the end of the story. Continue reading A university thought its misconduct investigation was complete. Then a PubPeer comment appeared.

Deputy director of U.S. gov’t watchdog leaves to run another gov’t office

The second-in-command at the U.S. Office of Research Integrity (ORI), which oversees investigations into scientific misconduct, will be leaving the agency.

Scott Moore has been at ORI since 2016. He had previously been at the National Science Foundation’s Office of Inspector General, where he was an investigative scientist for 13 years. He was appointed by former director Kathy Partin, who after a tumultuous two years left the ORI in November 2017, and is now the intramural research integrity officer at NIH.

Moore was named acting deputy director of the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Health’s (OASH) Office of Grants Management in July, serving in both that role and as ORI deputy director since then. According to a memo from Assistant Secretary for Health Brett P. Giroir that was circulated at that time: Continue reading Deputy director of U.S. gov’t watchdog leaves to run another gov’t office

Wash U scientist admits to research misconduct, resigns post

A Washington University researcher has admitted to committing research misconduct in research involving eight U.S. government grants, according to a Federal watchdog, and resigned his position, according to the university.

Srikanth Santhanam, a staff scientist in the department of internal medicine’s division of gastroenterology at Washington University in St. Louis, “voluntarily admitted to engaging in research misconduct,” vice chancellor for research Jennifer Lodge told Retraction Watch. Santhanam resigned effective December 1, 2018, Lodge said. Continue reading Wash U scientist admits to research misconduct, resigns post

Former UMich postdoc earns five-year ban on Federal funding, after admitting to misconduct and then lying

A former postdoc at the University of Michigan admitted to research misconduct, but lied about how extensive it was, according to a new finding by the U.S. Office of Research Integrity (ORI).

The ORI doesn’t describe Venkata Sudheer Kumar Ramadugu‘s misconduct — that detail will likely come later in the Federal Register, according to their relatively new practice [see update below] — but says that as a postdoc in Michigan’s department of chemistry he “engaged in research misconduct” in work supported by two NIH grants.

Ramadugu agreed to a five-year ban on Federal funding. The penalty was that severe, according to ORI’s annoucement, because Ramadugu Continue reading Former UMich postdoc earns five-year ban on Federal funding, after admitting to misconduct and then lying

Former Cedars-Sinai scientist committed misconduct in food preservatives-obesity paper

A former researcher at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center has been sanctioned by a Federal watchdog for misconduct in a 2017 paper that claimed to link food preservatives and obesity.

Uthra Rajamani, first author of the paper in Nature Communications, “engaged in research misconduct,” according to the U.S. Office of Research Integrity (ORI), and agreed to have any Federally funded research supervised for a year. She also agreed to request the retraction of the paper in question.

The ORI announcement does not specify the type of misconduct Rajamani committed, but refers to an upcoming Federal Register notice that, if past history is any indication, should contain those details. [See update at end of post.] In a statement to Retraction Watch, Cedars-Sinai said: Continue reading Former Cedars-Sinai scientist committed misconduct in food preservatives-obesity paper