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A professor at the University of Gothenburg found guilty of research misconduct


The universities main building, VasaparkenVice-Chancellor Eva Wiberg has decided that a professor at Sahlgrenska Academy is guilty of research misconduct. The current professor is main author of the ten scientific articles that have been examined. The co-authors are cleared from suspicions of research misconduct.

For more than two years, the University of Gothenburg’s Special Council for Investigations of Suspected Research Misconduct, on behalf of the Vice-Chancellor, has investigated four different cases of suspicions of research misconduct. Cases that concern the same main author.

It was in March 2016 that Sahlgrenska Academy's then Dean Olle Larkö reported a case of suspected research misconduct. Anonymous posts on the PubPeer website identified ten articles from the University of Gothenburg where researchers were suspected to have fabricated and falsified a large number of images. Subsequently, the Vice-Chancellor received two more reports. These concerned another two articles which were reported to have been based on research for which no ethical permission had been obtained. And in January 2017, the Vice-Chancellor received another report. This was about incorrect publications of images in two scientific articles.

The two ethics cases were decided on March 24, 2017. The then Vice-Chancellor Pam Fredman concluded that there had been research misconduct and two professors were found guilty. The University of Gothenburg’s Special Council for Investigations of Suspected Research Misconduct has then continued to investigate the other two cases.

Professor found guilty of research misconduct

On June 26, Vice-Chancellor Eva Wiberg decided in the two remaining cases. In the first case, the Vice-Chancellor decided that the main author had been guilty of research misconduct through intentional fabrication, falsification or suppression of basic material and deliberately abandoning good scientific practice in seven of the reviewed articles.

In total, these articles had 35 authors, of which 26 is affiliated to the University of Gothenburg. Except from the main author, these are cleared from suspicions of research misconduct.

In the second case, the Vice-Chancellor decided that the professor was guilty of research misconduct by deliberately neglecting good scientific practice.

“Research misconduct is a very serious matter, and of course nothing we want to occur at our institutions. It is therefore important that misconduct is discovered, and that it has consequences for those responsible"says Eva Wiberg.

Journals are notified about the decisions

The University of Gothenburg will notify the relevant scientific journals of the decisions. It is then up to the journals to decide if the articles are to be withdrawn.

Labour law process initiated

Vice-Chancellor Eva Wiberg has also initiated a labour law process against the professor, and asked that the National Disciplinary Offences Board (Statens ansvarsnämnd) examine a request for dismissal.

The decisions include the following articles

Fetal liver-derived mesenchymal stromal cells augment engraftment of transplanted hepatocytes. Cytotherapy (2012) 14:657-669.

Recellularization of acellular human small intestine using bone marrow stem cells. Stem Cells Trans. Med. (2013) 2:307-315.

Phenotypic and in vivo functional characterization of immortalized human fetal liver cells. Scand. J. Gastroenterol. (2014) 49:705-714.

Replacement of a Tracheal Stenosis with a Tissue-Engineered Human Trachea Using Autologous Stem Cells: A Case Report. Tissue Eng. Part A (2013) 20:389-397.

Isolation and characterization of human primary enterocytes from small intestine using a novel method. Scand. J. Gastroenterol. (2012) 47:1334-1343.

CD271 identifies functional human hepatic stellate cells, which localize in peri-sinusoidal and portal areas in liver after partial hepatectomy. Cytotherapy (2014) 16:990-999.

Successful tissue engineering of competent allogeneic venous valves. J. Vascular Surgery: Venous and Lymphatic Disorders (2015) 3:421-430.