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Anne Peyroche removed as interim CNRS President as her publications are “questioned”

Things are happening at the French state’s network of research institutes, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS). Their interim president, Anne Peyroche, was now removed prematurely from her position due to evidence of data manipulations in her papers on PubPeer, which I helped uncover. As all credit goes to PubPeer (run chiefly by two CNRS researchers), the announcement unfortunately makes no reference to my call for a minor revolution at CNRS, where these data manipulations were presented to wider public. The official letter which I obtained, is below, both in English translation and its French original.

Another problematic CNRS chief scientist, Catherine Jessus, who as director of l’Institut des sciences biologiques (INSB) is the head biologist at CNRS, was acquitted in November 2017 by a secret investigation at l’Université Pierre et Marie Curie (UPMC) despite all that long list of suspected data manipulations found in her papers (which I originally presented in this article). As Peyroche faces disciplinary investigation by her employer, the Commissariat à l’énergie atomique et aux énergies alternatives (CEA), nothing of that kind seems to threaten Jessus. Instead, those CNRS researchers who dare to protest against her  research integrity shortcomings are being threatened and terrorized, by a furious Jessus herself and her supporters at the top of CNRS.

Finally, a particularly data manipulations-ridden Institut de Biologie Moléculaire des Plantes (IBMP) in Strasbourg, former home of the legendary Olivier Voinnet (whom Jessus once investigated for doing those same naughty things she might have just a sbadly engaged herself in) has issued a Code for Ethics and Responsible research, which warns potential perpetrators:

IBMP defines scientific misconduct as:

The selective manipulation, fabrication or falsification of scientific data.

Thing is, IBMP director Laurence Maréchal-Drouard with her PhD student and now tenured lab member Thalia Salinas recently went to PubPeer to admit exactly this kind of misconduct, after I published evidence of data manipulations in Drouard’s many publications and Salinas’ doctorate thesis.

Drouard’s disarming honesty on PubPeer (here, here, here and here) has been duly rewarded by the CNRS headquarters in Paris: she was now confirmed as IBMP director. Drouard however gets two new deputies: Magali Daujat and Philippe Giege (husband of Salinas, his own lovely PubPeer record here). The newly installed champions of research integrity will have quite a lot to “subject to CNRS disciplinary sanctions“, in their own papers and those of their IBMP colleagues, some described here. For example this beauty of a gel, from the lab of Anne-Catherine Schmit:

Gel background, apparently cloned 5 times, in Janski et al, Plant Cell 2012. Source: PubPeer

The new interim president of CNRS is now publicly announced to be Antoine Petit, by order of the President of the Republic, implemented by the minister for research. In that communique, Peyroche is said to be “currently prevented”, no further details are given. I however was forwarded this letter from CNRS, below my Google-Translate assisted English version, French follows. Because of my continuous reporting on CNRS data manipulations, I remain blocked by CNRS on Twitter, to limit the spread of the information. Neither did CNRS of the French Ministry of Research ever clarify to me if Jessus’ announcement that CNRS will be suing me, was any serious. You are invited to share this news, but careful of Jessus’ temper!


Peyroche, left, and Jessus, 3rd from left, probably discussing how good science is done (November 2017, source: CNRS).

CNRS: Antoine Petit interim president to replace Anne Peyroche, whose publications are questioned

By René-Luc Benichou

© INRIA / C. Morel Antoine Petit “is responsible for act as interim president”  of CNRS, “replacing Anne Peyroche”, announced  by an order of 17 January 2018 of the Minister of Higher Education, Research and Innovation, Frédérique Vidal, published in the Official Journal Thursday, January 18. The arrival of Antoine Petit to CNRS occurs earlier than expected for his appointment to the presidency of the organization, proposed by the government, has only received a favourable opinion of the Parliament on 17 January and has not was endorsed by the Cabinet ( read AEF ). Anne Peyroche “is prevented for the time,” says Minister in a statement. According to information gathered by AEF, this impediment of Anne Peyroche is linked to reporting on the site PubPeer about data manipulation suspicions in 5 publications which she has signed or co-signed.

In a statement released on January 18, the Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation shows that the appointment of Antoine Petit as interim president of CNRS comes with Anne Peyroche  “being for the time prevented “. Anne Peyroche would normally occupy the interim President position until the appointment by the Cabinet of Antoine Petit as president on January 24.


According to information gathered by AEF, the absence of Anne Peyroche is being linked to the questioning of several scientific papers which she is author or co-author. In November 2017, five publications signed or co-authored by Anne Peyroche have indeed been reported to the site PubPeer . Founded in 2012 and backed since 2015 by the California foundation of the same name, this site gives aims to “improve the quality of scientific research through innovative approaches to the interactions of the community.” In practice, users are reporting scientific articles in which they have identified abnormalities that could affect the conclusions.

Anne Peyroche appears first author of one of the indicated publications, dating from 2001, and last author (team leader) of four other publications, published between 2003 and 2012. These articles were published in the Journal of Cell Science , Molecular Cell, Molecular Biology of the Cell and Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The anomalies identified in these five publications by commentators focus on experimental images. There are identified sudden breaks in image background or image portions which are identically repeating, where commentators suggest that the images have been manipulated.

Two answers were given by the authors, one by Anne Peyroche to the latest article published in 2012 in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences [here, -LS]. It provides in its response, dated November 28, copies of original autoradiographs and provides explanations of anomalies identified by commentators. Two of them have posted messages to thank for providing these original photographs, one commentator adding that “this removes any doubt that [he] could have.”


Anne Peyroche, deputy general director for science of CNRS since January 2016 ( read AEF ) was interim president of the CNRS since October 24, 2017, after the departure of Alain Fuchs as President of PSL ( read AEF ). A biologist, she began her career at CEA – which is still used – where she created her own research team in 2004, before becoming Deputy Head of integrative biology department and Molecular Genetics in 2009 and Deputy Director in 2013 unit “molecular genetics and cell fate” of CEA, CNRS and Université Paris-Sud.

His work was recognized in 2009 by the Victor Noury ​​Academy of Sciences (1). She is also winner of the Irène Joliot-Curie in 2010, in the “young woman scientist” category ( read AEF ).

She joined the firm in 2014 to Geneviève Fioraso, State Secretary for Higher Education and Research as a research consultant ( read AEF ), a position she retained in 2015 after the appointment of Thierry Mandon the secretariat State ( read AEF ), before being promoted in October 2015 Deputy Director of the office in charge of research ( read AEF ).

(1) The full name of the award is “Victor Noury, Thorlet, Henri Becquerel, Jules and Augusta Lazarus”.

Those are not really compression artefacts in a Peyroche paper Le Tallec et al Mol Cell 2007 as some suspected, but evidence of data manipulations. Details on PubPeer.

French original

CNRS : Antoine Petit président par intérim en remplacement d’Anne Peyroche, dont des publications sont mises en cause

Par René-Luc Bénichou

© Inria / C. Morel Antoine Petit “est chargé d’exercer par intérim les fonctions de président” du CNRS, “en remplacement d’Anne Peyroche”, annonce un arrêté du 17 janvier 2018 de la ministre de l’Enseignement supérieur, de la Recherche et de l’Innovation, Frédérique Vidal, publié au Journal officiel jeudi 18 janvier. L’arrivée d’Antoine Petit au CNRS intervient plus tôt que prévu : sa nomination à la présidence de l’organisme, proposée par le gouvernement, vient à peine d’obtenir un avis favorable du Parlement le 17 janvier et n’a pas encore été entérinée en conseil des ministres (lire sur AEF). Anne Peyroche “se trouve pour l’heure empêchée”, explique le MESRI dans un communiqué. Selon les informations recueillies par AEF, cet empêchement d’Anne Peyroche serait lié au signalement sur le site PubPeer de suspicions de manipulation de données dans 5 publications dont elle est signataire ou cosignataire.

Dans un communiqué diffusé le 18 janvier, le ministère de l’Enseignement supérieur, de la Recherche et de l’Innovation indique que la nomination d’Antoine Petit à la présidence par intérim du CNRS intervient alors qu’Anne Peyroche “se trouve pour l’heure empêchée”. Anne Peyroche aurait normalement dû occuper l’intérim de la présidence jusqu’à la nomination en conseil des ministres d’Antoine Petit comme président, le 24 janvier.


Selon des informations recueillies par AEF, l’absence d’Anne Peyroche serait liée à la mise en cause de plusieurs articles scientifiques dont elle est auteur ou coauteur. En novembre 2017, cinq publications signées ou cosignées par Anne Peyroche ont en effet été signalées sur le site PubPeer. Créé en 2012 et adossé depuis 2015 à la fondation californienne du même nom, ce site se donne pour vocation d’ “améliorer la qualité de la recherche scientifique par le biais d’approches innovantes pour les interactions de la communauté”. En pratique, ses utilisateurs y signalent des articles scientifiques dans lesquels ils ont relevé des anomalies susceptibles d’en affecter les conclusions.

Anne Peyroche apparaît en premier auteur de l’une des publications signalées, datant de 2001, et en dernier auteur (chef d’équipe) de quatre autres publications, parues entre 2003 et 2012. Ces articles sont parus dans les revues Journal of Cell Science, Molecular Cell, Molecular Biology of the Cell et Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Les anomalies repérées dans ces cinq publications par les commentateurs portent sur des images expérimentales. Y sont relevées de soudaines ruptures dans les fonds d’image, ou des portions d’image identiques se répétant, pouvant laisser penser selon les commentateurs que les images auraient été manipulées.

Deux réponses ont été apportées par les auteurs, dont une par Anne Peyroche à l’article le plus récent paru en 2012 dans les Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Elle fournit dans sa réponse, datée du 28 novembre, les clichés des autoradiographies originales et apporte des explications sur les anomalies repérées par les commentateurs. Deux d’entre eux ont posté des messages pour la remercier d’avoir fourni ces clichés originaux, l’un des commentateurs ajoutant que “cela lève tout doute qu’ [il] aurait pu avoir”.


Anne Peyroche, directrice générale déléguée à la science du CNRS depuis janvier 2016 (lire sur AEF), était présidente par intérim du CNRS depuis le 24 octobre 2017, après le départ d’Alain Fuchs à la présidence de PSL (lire sur AEF). Biologiste, elle a commencé sa carrière au CEA – dont elle est toujours employée – où elle a créé sa propre équipe de recherche en 2004, avant de devenir adjointe au chef du service de biologie intégrative et de génétique moléculaire en 2009, puis directrice adjointe en 2013 de l’unité de “génétique moléculaire et destin cellulaire”, associant le CEA, le CNRS et l’université Paris-Sud.

Ses travaux ont été récompensés en 2009 par le prix Victor Noury de l’Académie des sciences (1). Elle est également lauréate du prix Irène Joliot-Curie en 2010, dans la catégorie “jeune femme scientifique” (lire sur AEF).

Elle intègre en 2014 le cabinet de Geneviève Fioraso, secrétaire d’État chargée de l’Enseignement supérieur et de la Recherche, comme conseillère recherche (lire sur AEF), poste qu’elle conserve en 2015 après la nomination de Thierry Mandon au secrétariat d’État (lire sur AEF), avant d’être promue en octobre 2015 directrice adjointe du cabinet, en charge de la recherche (lire sur AEF).

(1) Le nom complet du prix est “Victor Noury, Thorlet, Henri Becquerel, Jules et Augusta Lazare”.



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13 comments on “Anne Peyroche removed as interim CNRS President as her publications are “questioned”

  1. Monica Sater

    To hear that science is questioned when needed, makes my day. I hope I will read someday that my topic is protected from researchers that mislead society. So nice to read. Kind regards Monica

    Skickades från E-post för Windows 10

    Från: For Better Science Skickat: den 19 januari 2018 08:16 Till: Ämne: [New post] Anne Peyroche removed as interim CNRS President as her publications are “questioned”

    Leonid Schneider posted: “Things are happening at the French state’s network of research institutes, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS). Their interim president, Anne Peyroche, was now removed prematurely from her position due to evidence of data manipulations in “


  2. Marek Szymanski

    Great news!


  3. Wow! Second big shot of French science who loses a position in less than a year for ethical reason. The funny thing is that Antoine Petit replaced the physicist who was dismissed last year from another institution (see the paragraph “Physicist fired” from A more detailed story for those of you who can read French : ). We will have to call him Rescue Man. I hope it is a sign that things are changing, thanks to the work of people like Leonid.


  4. The way the publication system is organised nowadays also contributes strongly for cheating. In my opinion original data should always be available for the reviewers and peer-review should be public anonymously or not


  5. I think anyone who generates original data in his/her lab should have the right to publish it whether it is complete or not and receive a public constructive peer-review. Also, researchers should get grants because of the quality of their proposals and not because they published something in high impact journals….maybe this is dreaming too much like John Lennon or Armstrong….


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  13. Pingback: CEA declares Anne Peyroche's data fakery scientifically correct – For Better Science

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