Data Tampering / Sabotage / Fabrication

Published by the National Science Foundation, Office of Inspector General on 2017-03-08.

Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)

                                                  NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION
                                                   OFFICE OF INSPECTOR GENERAL
                                                     OFFICE OF INVESTIGATIONS

                                             CLOSEOUT MEMORANDUM

 Case Number: A14090052                                                                      Page 1of1

                 NSF OIG was informed that a University 1 received an allegation that a Ph.D. student
         (Student)2 fabricated a figure in a published article, 3 on which she was lead author and which
         acknowledged NSF support. 4 Specifically, it was alleged that black dots in the figures were not
         scientifically generated, but were drawn onto the image to make the findings appear highly
         successful. The University informed us that the Student admitted fabricating the figure; she said
         she had done so in order to finish the project her advisor required her to complete before
         allowing her to move on to something of greater scientific interest to her. The University
         dismissed the Student from her program. The University also informed the journal about
         Subject's misconduct and the journal formally retracted the article. We referred the investigation
         to the Student's University.

                 The University conducted an investigation. The Student chose not to participate in the
         University's investigation. The University concluded, based on a preponderance of the evidence,
         that the Subject intentionally and knowingly fabricated a figure in a published article, which it
         deemed a significant departure from accepted practices. The University took no further action
         against the Subject, whom it had already dismissed from the University.

                 We reviewed the University's report and adopted its findings in lieu of conducting our
         own investigation. We recommended that NSF make a finding of research misconduct against
         the Student; send her a letter of reprimand; debar her for three years; require she submit
         certifications and assurances for three years following the end of debarment; and require she
         receive certification of attending a comprehensive responsible conduct of research training class
         within one year.

                   NSF concurred with our recommendations. Accordingly, this case is closed.

NSF OIG Form 2 (11/02)