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 newspaper l’Express reported that Academie de Sciences commissioned an investigative report about the papers of former CNRS interim president Anne Peyroche, and that CNRS and the French Ministry of Research tried to suppress it. Peyroche herself could not be heard, because she is hospitalised since the affair started. So her co-authors took that as opportunity to blame Peyroche for every fake figure. Meanwhile, duplicated data was found even in Research Minister’s Frederique Vidal’s paper.
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.
Jaw-dropping corrections issued for the French martyr saint of research integrity, Catherine Jessus, head of biology branch at the French CNRS. All these works of science contained such appalling Photoshop manipulations that the academic publisher had to bend over backwards and hide behind COPE guidelines to invent a reason against retractions.
German Research Foundation (DFG) terminated the investigation against their Senator and Marburg University professor Roland Lill, after having found no research misconduct. No comments are issued on the integrity of the data in his papers on yeast biochemistry, or on some unusual image manipulations which were already admitted by Lill and his former PhD students
The Paolo Macchiarini investigation was initiated in 2016 by the interim Karolinska Rector Karin Dahlman-Wright, finalised this year by the newly installed Ole Petter Ottersen. The irony is that several Dahlman-Wright papers were now scrutinised data integrity sleuths with the result that one wonders if Dahlman-Wright was the right person to supervise any research misconduct investigations. Also Ottersen himself might be tainted: he is co-author on an old paper with image duplication.
On 7 April 2010 the Spanish diabetes researcher Margarita Lorenzo died of metastatic melanoma, aged only 51. Two months after her death, Lorenzo’s colleagues submitted a paper to the journal Diabetes. The paper, which studies the mechanisms of obesity and insulin resistance, seems to be full of manipulated western blot data. While Lorenzo was dying of cancer, her colleagues advanced their careers using her reputation, using their own disreputable Photoshop skills.
As Le Monde brought into public light the Catherine Jessus affair with its whitewashed data manipulation and the growing academic protest, a counter-revolution put its foot in. A signature list in the worst Stalinist tradition was published, organised by the very elite of French academia (mostly members of Academie de Sciences), and signed by hundreds, mostly professors and CNRS group leaders, including a former CNRS president. Their demands, endorsed in a secret press release by current CNRS president and Sorbonne University president: punishment for 10 anonymous authors of the Jessus counter-report and for a Le Monde journalist.