My earlier article about the fake Linköping University professor Ashutosh Tiwari and his scam of predatory conferences and journals, made quite a splash. Swedish Linköping University (LiU) now opened an investigation into research misconduct and other “improprieties” of their past employee Tiwari. The investigation is likely to include his past patron, bioelectronics professor Anthony “Tony” Turner, whose Christmas message to the research community I relay below, followed by the LiU announcement. Since Turner is also Editor-in-Chief on an Elsevier journal Bionsensors and Bioelectronics, his message quotes a statement from Elsevier, which describes yours truly as a “toxic individual”, with whom Elsevier advises their academic editors to keep contact ” to the absolute minimum”.
On top, Tiwari himself sent a bizarre round email which I also quote below. His empire of fake research institutes and predatory publisher VBRI Press as well as his predatory conference outlet IAAM (International Association of Advanced Materials), all located in a small rented office in the vicinity of LiU, are apparently crumbling. Websites of Tiwari’s businesses get scrubbed, videos of the duped participants of his scam conferences get pulled off YouTube. I received meanwhile an English-language report of a misconduct investigation LiU performed on Tiwari’s activities in October 2015, terminated without conclusion simply because he was not officially employed at LiU at that time anymore. Only that Tiwari didn’t really leave after his contract expired in March 2015. He stayed at Turner’s Department of Physics, Chemistry and Biology (IFM), according to Turner himself until June 2017, while witnesses reported the fake professor still having his office, as well as a research group of graduate students long after he was supposed to have left LiU. Where, as witnesses told me, Tiwari made them surrender all their research data to him, even if it was produced outside LiU. Tiwari then published the data under his own name, even when he had no input whatsoever in that research. In fact, these students quickly noticed how little clue the fake professor had of the science he was supposed to be a great expert in.
Others reported that Tiwari engaged in plagiarism, by translating foreign language papers of other authors and publishing them in English as his own. Finally, Tiwari allegedly told to his students that his own PhD research at the University of Allahabad took mere three months and that his father paid for his doctorate diploma, which Tiwari then used to obtain a Marie Curie fellowship in 2011 and a “docent” (habilitation) degree at LiU, together with a lecturer position in 2013. All thanks to his patron Turner, whose journal Bionsensors and Bioelectronics published a large number of very shady papers by Tiwari and his Allahabad partner and probably the laziest of all cheaters, Prashant Sharma (see this report).
All that time between 2011 and 2017, LiU saw nothing, or maybe chose to see nothing, not even that their fake professor Tiwari was still roaming IFM corridors and organising predatory conferences together with Turner, on cruise ships, and in the name of LiU. In fact, in February 2017 LiU proudly celebrated the funding their reserahcer Tiwari got from the Swedish research council, Vetenskapsrådet (VR):
New grant in Strong research environments
Mikael Syväjärvi is partner by carbon allotropes growth process on epitaxial graphene with Uppsala University, Kiel University and the Biosensors team headed by Ashutosh Tiwari at Linköping University in combinations of hybrid nanomaterials as stimuli-enabled energy materials for smart bioelectronic devices. 18 projects were selected from 222 applications. The total budget is 24 million SEK over 6 years.
Tony Turner feels himself quite safe, and declared to his colleagues in this email that he enjoys full support from his Head of Department Ulf Karlsson (who in turn ends his assignment coming December 31st. Also note the advise from Elsevier to the research community Turner relays, on how to deal with that “toxic individual” Leonid Schneider. Elsevier in fact even seemed to confirm the correctness of their quote in Turner’s Christmas message. William Gunn, Elsevier’s Director of Scholarly Communications, contacted for an explanation from Elsevier, did not deny the quote, yet declared to me: “I’m afraid no one is interested in engaging with you“. Now, without any further ado,
Christmas message from Professor Tony Turner
Please forgive the wide circulation, but I believe all of you have received communications from or about two internet trolls, Leonid Schneider and [name of a 3rd party actor removed for privacy concerns, -LS] who have launched an attack on several members of LiU. Nowadays, we are used to spam and viral attacks, but this is the first time I have been the subject of these vicious, unpleasant and untrue campaigns conducted both publicly online and via personal e-mails. I am not alone in this and a number of Editors of prestigious, high impact factor journals have recently been subjected to similar attacks. The best advice I have received is not to respond, since any factual response is distorted out of all recognition and used in further online campaigns. The more responses these trolls get the more they are encouraged to propagate their lies. Hence my silence on the matter and I have counted on the common sense and discretion of my colleagues not to respond or comment without being properly aware of their facts. The methodology of these trolls is cunning in that they mix outright lies with distorted truths, the latter of which can lend some credence to their argument, if read without proper scrutiny and checking of the so-called facts presented.
I have received considerable support from my publisher, Elsevier, since their journals are also under attack. I have also reported the matter to Ulf Karlsson, who immediately saw through the falsehoods and has handed the matter over to Ulf Nilsson to handle on behalf of LiU. I strongly suggest that all responses are handled only by these two people. The trolls have invoked official complaints procedures and so everything will be thoroughly investigated, although I believe the complainants are having trouble formulating anything like a coherent case against anybody. As far as I am concerned, I can personally assure you that there is absolutely no case to answer for and the statements made are simply groundless innuendo based on erroneous information.
By way of a brief background, the complaint against me has been extrapolated from an issue about one figure in a paper that was accepted by one of the editors of a journal that I am Editor-In-Chief of. Although I obviously have responsibility for oversight of the journal, I could not possibly be expected to have spotted the alleged error in a paper that I did not process, regarding one electron micrograph, in a journal that handles well over 3 000 papers per year. On receiving notification of a possible error I immediately began the normal process of investigation and this is ongoing. Two days after I received the complaint the online campaign against me was started by Leonid Schneider, who incidentally has recently been convicted in a German court for his online activities. I then became aware of a second protagonist, [name removed, -LS]. Interestingly, this is a quote from Leonid Schneider about his colleague – “[name removed, -LS], who is in fact a rather unsavoury troll with an unhealthy obsession with my person, my site and my Twitter profile.” In a subsequent private e-mail, Schneider admitted that this own description of a [name removed, -LS] also fitted himself.
Here is the advice I received from Elsevier: “Both [name removed, -LS] and Leonid Schneider are quite toxic individuals. Please try to keep your contact with them to the absolute minimum. [Name removed, -LS] has also been “excluded” from one of our journals: [link removed, -LS]
Our ethics team had lots of cases with these two and advise to be extremely cautious as they tend to publicize any response they get (also out of context).”
[Identifying paragraph removed, -LS]
I hope that it is apparent from all of this that the utmost discretion is necessary in handling any correspondence regarding these individuals and their gutter-style online innuendo and dsitortions, and I look forward to a timely and robust official response from LiU in defence of its employees.
With very best regards and wishing you a happier Christmas than I am having.
It is not even very original to call me an “internet troll”, another English professor already did it, namely John Innes Centre director Dale Sanders. Looks like Turner got his response from LiU now, not sure if this is what he expected from them though. The university namely announced an investigation of Tiwari’s activities, with reference to my site, but without naming it.
Allegations of misconduct and other impropriety to be investigated
A researcher formerly employed at Linköping University has been accused on an international website of fraud and scientific misconduct. LiU is taking action to determine whether there is any truth in these allegations. Their nature is such that two inquiries have been established: one to investigate alleged scientific misconduct, and one to investigate other alleged impropriety.
The allegations concern a scientist who arrived at Linköping University as a research fellow in 2011, and who left the employment at LiU in 2015. According to the information presented on an international website, the researcher has built up activities centred around predatory publishing, a non-existent research institute, and conferences held on cruise liners. It is claimed that these activities have been carried out from a small office in the vicinity of Linköping University, with fabricated employee presentations on its website.
It has been stated that the researcher has falsely described himself as a professor at Linköping University, and has presented Linköping University as co-organiser of several well-attended conferences. The income from the latter has allegedly passed directly to a company owned by the researcher.
The inquiries that have now been established are to investigate whether the accusations of impropriety and scientific misconduct are justified. They will also investigate whether other employees at the university have participated in the activities, and if so, in what way. The inquiry into scientific misconduct has started its work, while the inquiry into impropriety will start early in January.
“It is, of course, possible that others at the university have acted in good faith, and are now anxious about their relationship with the researcher who is the subject of the allegations,” says Ulf Nilsson, dean of the Faculty of Science and Engineering. “We take the issue of misconduct extremely seriously, and it’s good for everyone that we are bringing clarity to the situation.”
Finally, it would be unfair to deny the word to the grand man himself, Ashutosh “Ashu” Tiwari, fake LiU professor, and most probably also a carrier of a phony PhD degree. As I learned from witnesses, Tiwari’s English is rather bad, one wonders if one of his charming yet imaginary assistants “Adeline Nilsson” or “Sophie Thompson” played the muse for this email he sent to quite a number of recipients from his IAAM account: