Much of French media and academia, and certainly also the international plant science community now debates a hot conspiracy theory: what if Olivier Voinnet is actually innocent, a visionary genius who fell prey to a conspiracy of fraudulent colleagues and scheming bureaucrats? I discuss here the widespread dishonesty and data manipulation among Voinnet’s co-authors and peers. Is French research culture to blame?
Two sets of events for Women in STEM: the theoretical physicist Alessandro Strumia, soon likely ex-CERN affiliated, decried feminist conspiracies and the discrimination against males like himself, in a workshop talk on gender. Right after, the Nobel Prize for physics was finally after 55 years given to a woman. Thing is: one of the other recipients, Gerard Mourou, made it clear in a 2013 video what the roles of males and females in physics are.
Olivier Voinnet, responsible for probably the biggest fraud scandal in plant sciences, is back in the news. His present employer ETH Zürich has now concluded, in collaboration with CNRS, their second investigation into data manipulations in Voinnet papers. The ETH professor was declared innocent of any data manipulations, in the past, present and even future.
The Olivier Voinnet affair is now a distant past. Despite new evidence of manipulated data still popping up, journals drew a line. Especially the elite journal Nature Genetics, which may or may not have to do with their Editor-in-Chief Myles Axton having some strange data in his paper.
German diabetologist Kathrin Maedler is a central figure of a questionable academic dynasty. Using Photoshop simulations, she discovered a cure for diabetes, which was then allegedly validated in clinical trials led by her Swiss PhD advisor Marc Donath. 15 years later, the Maedler-Donath diabetes cure was proven as utterly ineffective by same Donath, in another clinical trial. Maedler’s own PhD student, Amin Ardestani is group leader in Bremen, despite data irregularities and unacknowledged textual reuse in his thesis.