Are you liable for misconduct by scientific collaborators? What a recent court decision could mean for scientists

Richard Goldstein

Retraction Watch readers may have followed our coverage of the case of Christian Kreipke, a former Wayne State researcher who was recently barred from U.S. Federal funding for five years. That punishment followed years of allegations and court cases, along with half a dozen retractions. The case has been complicated, to say the least, and led to a 126-page decision by a judge last month. Here, Boston-based attorney Richard Goldstein, who represented the scientist in Bois v. HHS, the first case to overturn a funding ban by the U.S. Office of Research Integrity (ORI), tries to explain what it could all mean.

Can you commit research misconduct if you fail to detect false data from another scientist? Continue reading Are you liable for misconduct by scientific collaborators? What a recent court decision could mean for scientists

After years of court battles, former Wayne State researcher barred from federal grants for five years

In a case that has involved eight years of misconduct allegations, two U.S. Federal agencies, a state university, and multiple lawsuits, a former Wayne State researcher has earned a five-year ban on Federal funding.

U.S. Administrative Law Judge Keith W. Sickendick found that Christian Kreipke Continue reading After years of court battles, former Wayne State researcher barred from federal grants for five years

Two years after student loses PhD, ORI concludes he committed misconduct

The U.S. Office of Research Integrity (ORI) announced today that a former graduate student committed research misconduct — nearly two years after his institution stripped him of his degree.

The ORI concluded that Shiladitya Sen committed misconduct in a PNAS paper (retracted six months ago), his PhD thesis, a poster presentation, and two grant applications to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Sen has agreed not to seek federal funding for three years.

A spokesperson for The Ohio State University (OSU), where Sen was based, told us its investigation wrapped up in Spring 2016, and Sen’s PhD was revoked that June. It’s not clear why it took two years for the ORI to issue its own finding; the ORI did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

According to ORI’s notice, Sen:

Continue reading Two years after student loses PhD, ORI concludes he committed misconduct

U.S. government research watchdog pulls newsletter without explanation

The U.S. Office of Research Integrity has removed an issue of its quarterly newsletter, without including a public notice explaining why.

The main website for the newsletter — published since 1993 — is now missing the March 2017 edition.

A spokesperson for the agency told Retraction Watch: Continue reading U.S. government research watchdog pulls newsletter without explanation

Mount Sinai multiple sclerosis researcher admits to misconduct

Gareth John

A researcher who has received millions in funding from the U.S. National Institutes of Health and who runs a lab at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York has confessed to falsifying data in a 2014 paper.

Gareth John, who studies multiple sclerosis and other neurological diseases, “has expressed remorse for his actions,” according to a report released last week from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Research Integrity. Continue reading Mount Sinai multiple sclerosis researcher admits to misconduct

Child psychiatrist’s research was suspended “indefinitely” following probe

Mani Pavuluri

The University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) permanently suspended all research activities for a child psychiatrist years ago following an inquiry into her work, Retraction Watch has learned.

In 2015, a UIC spokesperson told us the university had suspended Mani Pavuluri’s clinical research in 2013, after a child in one of her studies had been hospitalized for exhibiting an increase in irritability and aggression. This prompted the university to launch a misconduct probe, and send letters to approximately 350 families of children participating in the research, notifying them of what happened. Now, a spokesperson has informed us that after the institution concluded its probe, it suspended her research “indefinitely.”

Continue reading Child psychiatrist’s research was suspended “indefinitely” following probe

Infamous case of fraud by protein crystallographer ends in 10-year funding ban

In 2009, a university announced a prominent researcher in the field of protein crystallography had likely fabricated nearly a dozen protein structures. Nine years later, the U.S. Office of Research Integrity (ORI) has upheld the results — and announced a relatively long sanction, by the agency’s standards.

Today, the ORI placed a 10-year ban on Federal funding for H.M. Krishna Murthy, a former research associate professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), noting he “falsified and/or fabricated” research in nine papers and multiple structures added to a widely used database. Four of the papers have already been retracted; two others have been flagged with an expression of concern by the journal. Three remain otherwise intact.

The announcement was a long time coming — after the ORI provided Murthy with its initial finding and proposed sanctions, he appealed. On January 19, 2018, and Administrative Law Judge declined to move forward with the appeal, allowing the agency to proceed. Today’s finding was accompanied by a rare message from the interim office of the director, Wanda Jones, in which she notes today’s announcement:

Continue reading Infamous case of fraud by protein crystallographer ends in 10-year funding ban

In what appears to be a first, researcher sanctioned twice by ORI

Here’s something we haven’t seen before: The U.S. Office of Research Integrity has issued a second notice for a former researcher at the National Institutes of Health, after determining she withheld information during the first investigation.

Last year, the ORI sanctioned Brandi M. Baughman — formerly at the National Institute of Environmental and Health Sciences — after she “falsified and/or fabricated data” in 11 figures in a 2016 paper. Sanctions included agreeing to have her research supervised for three years. Now, the agency has barred her from receiving federal grants for two years. The reason:

Continue reading In what appears to be a first, researcher sanctioned twice by ORI

Former NYU researcher falsified data in 3 papers, 7 grants: ORI

A former researcher at New York University falsified and/or fabricated data in multiple papers and grant applications, according to the U.S. Office of Research Integrity.

Bhagavathi Narayanan has already retracted three papers, the result of missing original data. Among the three papers flagged by the ORI, only one remains intact: A 2011 paper in Anticancer Research.

According to the ORI:

Continue reading Former NYU researcher falsified data in 3 papers, 7 grants: ORI

US court denies virus researcher’s latest appeal challenging 7-year funding ban

Scott Brodie has almost run out of options.

A former professor at the University of Washington, Brodie is currently involved in his third lawsuit challenging a finding of scientific misconduct and a seven-year funding ban handed down in 2010 by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Research Integrity. He says that in the time since his case was heard by an administrative law judge at the ORI level, new evidence has come to light that shows he “did not have a ‘full and fair opportunity to litigate’ the issues.” His lawsuit sought a court order to have the ORI revisit its decision.

Last year, a U.S. District Court judge dismissed the case, saying it revisited old issues that had already been litigated, but Brodie appealed that decision. Now, his quest may have come to an end: On Nov. 27, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit dismissed the appeal. If he wants to continue the case, Brodie’s only remaining option is to appeal the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court.

In the court order, the panel of three judges wrote:

Continue reading US court denies virus researcher’s latest appeal challenging 7-year funding ban