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Summaries of Closed Inquiries and Investigations - 2004

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Falsification: The respondent, an interviewer, allegedly falsified or fabricated interviews in a study involving sexually transmitted disease. The questioned research was supported by a National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), National Institutes of Health (NIH), grant and a National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), NIH, grant. The institution concluded that the respondent had falsified eight interviews. ORI accepted the institution’s investigation report as meeting the reporting requirement to ORI. However, because of a lack of adequate documentation, ORI declined to pursue a finding of research misconduct in this matter.

Falsification: The respondent, an assistant professor, allegedly knowingly reported falsified data from a published paper that had been retracted in a grant application submitted to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), National Institutes of Health (NIH). The questioned research involved behavior of primates. The institution conducted an investigation. The institution concluded that the respondent’s failure to discuss and properly cite the retraction of the questioned paper in the grant application seriously deviated from commonly accepted practices in the scientific community and thereby constituted research misconduct. However, ORI found that there was insufficient evidence of falsification under the PHS definition. Because of weakness of the evidence and the lack of testimony from important witnesses, ORI declined to pursue a finding of research misconduct. However, ORI recognized that this does not impact on the findings of misconduct made under institutional standards.

Falsification: The respondent, a professor, allegedly falsified academic credentials in grant applications submitted to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The questioned research involved the effects of a chemical on organ function. The institution conducted an investigation into the matter. The institution concluded that there were numerous errors and misstatements included in the questioned grant applications that by themselves were relatively trivial, but collectively, these errors might have been material to funding decisions. However, the institution could not determine with certainty that the errors and misstatements were intentional and did not find him guilty of misconduct. The institution did take administrative actions against the respondent. While ORI does not countenance either intentional or reckless behavior in falsely reporting academic credentials in grant applications, whether significant or not, ORI concurred with the institution and did not make a finding of research misconduct in this case. Nonetheless, ORI recognized the authority of the institution to establish and implement its own institutional standards for integrity in science.

Falsification: The respondents, a professor and an associate professor, allegedly falsified research data in a study involving measuring a ligand-neurotransmitter in blood of human subjects. The questioned research was supported by two National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), National Institutes of Health (NIH), grants. The institution conducted an inquiry into the matter. The institution concluded that there was no substantial evidence of possible fraud or deliberate research misconduct; thus, no further investigation was warranted. ORI accepted the institution’s determination that a formal investigation was not warranted in this case.

Falsification: The respondent, a clinical coordinator, allegedly falsified subject records in a clinical drug trial on disease prevention. The questioned research was supported by a National Cancer Institute (NCI), National Institutes of Health (NIH), cooperative agreement. The institution conducted an investigation. The institution concluded that dates had been altered in the records for two study participants and found misconduct. However, because of the lack of sufficient evidence of the respondent’s intent to deceive, the small fraction of the total data in the study that was apparently altered, and the fact that the date changes would not have changed participants’ eligibility because of other problems with their records, ORI declined to pursue a PHS finding of research misconduct. Nonetheless, ORI recognized the authority of the institution to establish and implement its own institutional standards for integrity in science and to make findings on issues that include and go beyond those considered by ORI in this matter.

Fabrication: The respondent, a research interviewer, allegedly fabricated data for a human subject participant in a study involving diabetes research. The study in question was supported by a National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disorders (NIDDK), National Institutes of Health (NIH), cooperative agreement. The institution conducted an inquiry into the matter and concluded that the evidence in this case did not warrant further investigation or a finding of research misconduct under PHS standards. ORI concurred with the institution’s determination.

Fabrication: The respondents, both professors, allegedly fabricated research data in a manuscript submitted for publication on the fertility of mice with knock-out mutations in a hormone receptor gene. The questioned research was supported by a National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), National Institutes of Health (NIH), grant and a National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Skin Diseases (NIAMS), NIH, grant. The institution conducted an inquiry into the matter. The institution concluded that the documentation was incomplete and that the evidence was insufficient to investigate further. ORI concurred with the institution’s determination that there was insufficient evidence to warrant further investigation.

Plagiarism: The respondent, an associate professor, allegedly plagiarized an idea for research presented by another researcher in the same department and included the plagiarized idea in a grant application submitted to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), National Institutes of Health (NIH). The questioned research involved development of a drug to treat a common debilitating disease. The institution conducted an investigation into the matter. The institution concluded that the allegation of theft of an idea was unfounded and did not make a finding of research misconduct. ORI accepted the institution’s conclusion and did not find research misconduct on the part of the respondent.

Falsification/Fabrication: The respondent, a professor, allegedly falsified and/ or fabricated data in two published papers and two manuscripts submitted for publication. The research involved the conduct of gene expression in a family of proteins. The questioned papers and manuscripts were supported by National Institute for Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), National Institutes of Health (NIH), and National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS), NIH, grants. The institution conducted an investigation into the matter and concluded that the respondent had engaged in research misconduct by falsifying and fabricating research results by computer manipulation. ORI accepted the institution’s report for purposes of closing its oversight review. However, ORI did not find sufficient credible evidence to support a finding of research misconduct against the respondent. Thus, ORI declined to make a PHS finding in this case. Nonetheless, ORI recognized the authority of the institution to establish and implement its own institutional standards for integrity in science.

Falsification/Fabrication: The respondent, a professor, allegedly falsified and/or fabricated research data included in two National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), National Institutes of Health (NIH), grant applications. The questioned research involved immunological approaches to prevention of drug addiction. The institution conducted an inquiry into the matter. The institution concluded that while an honest error had occurred, and there were administrative problems in laboratory management that needed to be corrected, there was no evidence of possible scientific misconduct that would warrant an investigation. ORI accepted the institution’s conclusion that no investigation was warranted.

Falsification/Fabrication: The respondent, a professor, allegedly falsified data and/ or fabricated information included in a National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), National Institutes of Health (NIH), grant application and in two publications on the cloning and expression of a mammalian immunoglobulin family gene. The questioned publications cited support from two NICHD, NIH, grants, a National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), NIH, grant, and a National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS), NIH, grant. The institution conducted an assessment into the matter and concluded that further inquiry or investigation was not warranted. ORI concurred with the institution’s determination.

Plagiarism/Falsification: The respondent, a senior research pathologist and adjunct research associate professor, allegedly plagiarized and falsified part of the Preliminary Results section of a grant application submitted to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), National Institutes of Health (NIH). The research involved degeneration of an organ in a mouse model. The institution conducted an inquiry and an investigation into the matter. The institution determined that there was insufficient evidence to conclude that the respondent had committed plagiarism or falsification. ORI concurred with the institution’s determination that there was insufficient evidence to conclude that the respondent had committed research misconduct. Rather the respondent’s inaccurate use of others’ data appears more likely to have been a series of honest errors and a failure to carefully review the final grant application.

Plagiarism/Falsification: The respondent, an associate professor, allegedly plagiarized information from a manuscript under review and/or falsified data on cloning a gene from tumor cells described in a paper submitted to a journal. The questioned research was supported by two National Cancer Institute (NCI), National Institutes of Health (NIH), grants. The institution conducted an investigation. The institution concluded that while the respondent failed to protect the confidentiality of a confidential communication and was lax in maintaining appropriate documentation of his research results, these infractions did not constitute misconduct. The institution implemented administrative actions for the respondent because of deficiencies in maintaining accurate data and notebooks as well as other lax procedures. ORI accepted the institution’s conclusion that there was insufficient evidence to make a finding of falsification or plagiarism against the respondent.

Plagiarism/Falsification: The respondent, an assistant professor, allegedly plagiarized and/or falsified data in grant applications submitted to the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS), National Institutes of Health (NIH), from data found in two publications. The questioned research involved an in vitro transcription system with DNA or chromatin templates. The institution conducted an inquiry into the matter. The institution concluded that while honest errors that reflect a carelessness on the part of the respondent had occurred, this did not constitute research misconduct and further investigation was not warranted. ORI accepted the institution's determination that no further investigation was warranted.

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