Sunday, December 5, 2010

German Research Funding Organization Reprimands Researchers

The Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG), one of the largest research grant organizations in Germany, has officially reprimanded four researchers.
  1. Dr. Armin Heils published a study about Epilepsy in "Nature Genetics" in 2003 in which he supposedly proved that certain genetic mutations caused epilepsy. Internal investigations revealed in 2007 that the study was based on incorrect data. Heils was the only one of 24 authors of the paper unwilling to withdraw the publication. Since the research was funded by the DFG, he is prohibited from applying for money for the next 3 years.
  2. A manuscript that had been accepted for print turned out to have fabricated data. The unnamed researcher is prohibited from applying for money for the next 5 years, in particular because this was a senior scientist.
  3. An applicant gave incorrect data about the current state of publications (submitted, accepted, in print) for an application for funding. The researcher was given a written reprimand.
  4. The fourth case is a plagiarism case - an application for funding contained passages from other sources that were not quoted. Since the passages applied to the core of the research, it was considered serious. The applicant tried to explain that the plagiarism was due to the passages being written by students, but the DFG does not accept this as an excuse, the applicant is responsible for the text, and thus this researcher was also given a written reprimand.

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