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After a Retraction Demand Is Refused, What Then?

The most recent semiannual report (SAR) to Congress issued by the National Science Foundation (NSF) Office of Inspector General (OIG) details five misconduct findings NSF made based on prior OIG investigations,[1] as well as cases for which NSF decisions are pending.[2]

As RRC reported earlier this year, OIG investigated a case involving a professor and a graduate student who were both recommended for misconduct findings.[3] As is NSF and OIG policy, no institutions or individuals subject to sanctions are identified. HHS, in contrast, publishes such names.

The new report indicates NSF took action against the student, but OIG told RRC sanctions against the professor are still pending. The report also indicates no further progress in the quest for a retraction, which the government said the professor stopped.

Although investigated separately, the pair were accused together of “misrepresent[ing] data in a publication and deposit[ing] the data in a genetic sequence database.” The university “determined that the graduate student committed research misconduct, engaged in reckless acts of data falsification, and violated the student conduct code. The graduate student knowingly drew conclusions that were not supported by the experimental results and submitted those data in a manuscript for publication and to a public database.”

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