The New York Post reports that in addition to former Harvard president Claudine Gay, four senior research scientists with faculty appointments from the Dana Farber Cancer Center at Harvard Medical School are accused of manipulating data in some of their research.
They’re retracting and correcting as we speak.
The Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (DFCI) in Boston has already initiated six retractions to papers, and 31 others are in the process of being corrected, the hospital’s research integrity officer, Dr. Barrett Rollins, confirmed to the Harvard Crimson.
News of the probe surfaced after a data sleuth, Sholto David, published a blog post earlier this month alleging irregularities in 57 papers.
Sholto David, a British scientist with a cellular and molecular biology doctorate from Newcastle University, published a detailed blog post exposing only some of the corruption. He accuses the Harvard researchers of data forgery and provides blatant evidence.
David has accused the four of manipulating, in some cases, even copying and pasting images in 57 published manuscripts. He called this “the last resort of a failed scientist after every other trick failed to provide the desired result.” David’s post includes images that he believes are Photoshopped or duplicates.
The New York Post calls David a data sleuth.
DCFI’s Integrity Officer Is the Author of Two of the Studies
The hospital’s research integrity officer said that although discrepancies were identified in some of the papers, it didn’t necessarily provide evidence of an author’s intent to deceive.
The integrity officer is the author of two of the potentially corrupt studies – Barrett Rollins. Such irony.
In the emailed statement to The Crimson, DFCI Research Integrity Officer Barrett J. Rollins wrote that six manuscripts have retractions underway, and 31 are being corrected.
“That conclusion can only be drawn after a careful, fact-based examination, which is an integral part of our response,” Rollins said.
“Our experience is that errors are often unintentional and do not rise to the level of misconduct.”
While they make excuses, Sholto David writes:
Well, the level of data forgery is pathetically amateurish and excessive. So much that we could only include a fraction of it into this article, you will have to search Ken Anderson, Bill Hahn and other protagonists on PubPeer to see how bad it all really is. In fact, it is worse because we only see the tiny tip of the fraud iceberg – image data duplications, the last resort of a failed scientist after every other trick fails to provide the desired result. Billions of dollars were burned for this cancerous trash science, but it made many academic careers; some got very rich, and entire dynasties established themselves at Dana Farber.
The tip of the proverbial iceberg, methinks.