Article Top Harvard Cancer researchers accused of scientific fraud; 37 studies affected. Researchers accused of manipulating data images with copy-and-paste (Jan 2024)

Michael Harrop

Active member
Jul 6, 2023

The accusations come from data sleuth Sholto David and colleagues on PubPeer, an online forum for researchers to discuss publications that has frequently served to spot dubious research and potential fraud. On January 2, David posted on his research integrity blog, For Better Science, a long list of potential data manipulation from DFCI researchers. The post highlighted many data figures that appear to contain pixel-for-pixel duplications. The allegedly manipulated images are of data such as Western blots, which are used to detect and visualize the presence of proteins in a complex mixture.

The allegations are against: DFCI President and CEO Laurie Glimcher, Executive Vice President and COO William Hahn, Senior Vice President for Experimental Medicine Irene Ghobrial, and Harvard Medical School professor Kenneth Anderson.

Despite finding false data and manipulated images, Rollins pressed that it doesn't necessarily mean that scientific misconduct occurred and the institute has not yet made such a determination. The "presence of image discrepancies in a paper is not evidence of an author's intent to deceive," Rollins wrote. "That conclusion can only be drawn after a careful, fact-based examination which is an integral part of our response. Our experience is that errors are often unintentional and do not rise to the level of misconduct."

As Ars recently reported, all journals from the publisher Science now use an AI-powered tool to spot just this kind of image recycling because it is so common.
Format correct?
  1. Yes
Given the aggregate damage of crimes like this, you'd hope the guilty would be sentenced for life...but realistically they'll probably just be quietly fired.