Two and a half years after Maria Fousteri was found guilty of scientific misconduct by her former employer, the Leiden University Medical Center (LUMC), exactly nothing at all happened. ERC and Molecular Cell ignored LUMC letters from June 2016, while Fouster’s British co-authors interfered to save own papers. Of 4 scheduled retractions, none took place.
Following my reporting, the cancer researcher Carlos López-Otín abandoned his ERC-funded 36-member-strong “Degradome” lab at the University of Oviedo in Spain and moved in with his collaborator in Paris, France, Guido Kroemer. Yet Lopez-Otin’s data integrity issues seem as poppycock compared to what Kroemer and his life partner Laurence Zitvogel dished out to the scientific community.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has a cancer research unit in France, IARC. Some papers from there contain impressive manipulations. The works of art are authored by Massimo Tommasino and his former junior colleague there Uzma Hasan, now tenured group leader at INSERM. Some of this research took place at the Schering-Plough Research Institute which was taken over by German pharma giant Merck.
The fraud case of Bristol cell biologist Abderrahmane Kaidi looked rather straightforward: Bristol University caught a group leader on data faking and bullying, and immediately had him removed. Turns out, it was not really like that.
Now I publish some very revealing leaked material, spiced with stories of a guerrilla Twitter account and a deleted student newspaper article.
University of Bristol mysteriously lost its senior lecturer, Abderrahmane Kaidi. His institutional website was wiped out in August 2018. I obtained an internal email which lifts the mystery: Kaidi was namely found guilty of “having fabricated research data”, and resigned with “immediate effect”. Affected by research misconduct are also publications from Kaidi’s postdoc period with Stephen Jackson in Cambridge.
With nobody above him, ICR director Paul Workman was seemingly investigating himself, and found two female colleagues guilty of placing fake data into his papers, primarily the ICR emeritus Ann Jackman. One paper was retracted, another received an outrageous correction. The previous ICR CEO, Alan Ashworth, together with his right-hand man Chris Lord, have their own impressive, but hitherto ignored, record on PubPeer.
Louis J. Ignarro knew how to monetize his 1998 Nobel Prize for discovery of nitric oxide as molecular cell signalling agent. He made many millions selling dietary supplement for Herbalife and pomegranate juice for POM Wonderful Company. Some of that found its way (without proper conflict of interest declaration) into Ignarro’s peer reviewed papers. Those, done in collaboration with certain Photoshop artists like Claudio Napoli, contain clearly fabricated data.
Elite journal Nature Cell Biology (NCB) requests deposition of raw data, in particular original scans of western blots and other gel analyses. Spanish star cancer researcher Carlos López-Otín, winner of 2017 Nature Mentoring Award, instead deposited whatever odd gel picture his lab had available, counting that nobody will bother to check. Yet readers did.
Karin Dahlman-Wright, Vice-Rector of the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden, is under misconduct investigation, initiated externally by University of Gothenburg. None of her papers under scrutiny is older than 10 years, yet the raw data does not seem to be available to all of them. Where it was provided, it doesn’t always match the published figures.
Janine Erler is a star of Danish cancer research, funded by ERC. Her earlier research led to the discovery of the key role of the enzyme lysyl oxidase in cancer metastasis and brought the scientist and businesswoman very close to curing cancer. Until some sad envious bad-wishers found duplicated gel bands in Erler papers.