NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION OFFICE OF INSPECTOR GENERAL OFFICE OF INVESTIGATIONS CLOSEOUT MEMORANDUM Case Number: A-03080044 11 Page 1 of 1 We received an allegation that a figure in a published paper1 was used in the recent NSF proposal2jointly submitted by the PI (subject 1) and three cePIs (subjects 2,3, and 4) without appropriate citation or attribution. Our review suggested that part of the figure ustd in the recent NSF proposal appeared to have I been copied from the published figure. Further, our review of subject 1's earlier NSF proposal3 showed a similar, although not identical, figure to that used in the recent NSF proposal. Consequently, we determined that, reasonably, it was subject 1 who was responsible for including this figure in the recent NSF proposal. Therefore, we decided to contacted subject 1 first to ask about this matter. Subject 1, responding via email, explained that this was all a mistake. He said his former Post Doctoral Researcher (former researcher), whom he copied in his email response to us, prepared the figure that was used in the recent NSF proposal. Subject 1 did not blame the former researcher for what happened, but explained that he as the PI on the proposal, should have been more careful. He said that because the figure was not really necessary for the proposed NSF project, a fact we separately confirmed, he did not pay much attention to it. Subject 1 also provided a prior paper4he co-authored with the former researcher that contained a their own version of the figure that was similar to the figure used in the recent NSF proposal. He noted that this figure had been used for a long time (about 20 years) by researchers and it had become common knowledge. He said he would apologize to the primary author of the paper. Subject 1 apologized, via email, to the primary author of the paper:' We concluded that subject 1 had been solely responsible for the inclusion of the figure in the NSF proposal. Further, although subject 1's action was a deviation from accepted practice, it was not a serious deviation. Therefore, this case is closed and no further action will be taken. 11' NSF OIG Form 2 (1 1/02) '11
Published by the National Science Foundation, Office of Inspector General on 2003-12-08.
Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)