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(US and China) KU researcher charged with failing to disclose conflict of interest with Chinese university – KMBC News (August 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on March 25, 2020

A researcher at the University of Kansas was indicted Thursday on federal charges of hiding the fact he was working full-time for a Chinese university while doing research at KU funded by the U.S. government.

Feng “Franklin” Tao, 47, of Lawrence, Kansas, is charged with one count of wire fraud and three counts of program fraud, according to Jim Cross, the public information officer for U.S. Attorney Stephen McAllister in the District of Kansas.

Tao is an associate professor at KU’s Center for Environmentally Beneficial Catalysis. He was employed since August 2014 by the CEBC, the mission of which is to conduct research on sustainable technology to conserve natural resources and energy.

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(China) Chinese scientist Li Ning gets 12 years in prison for embezzling US$4.3 million of government funds – South China Morning Post (Stephen Chen | January 2020)0

Posted by Admin in on March 14, 2020

  • Cloning expert and his colleague Zhang Lei from China Agricultural University in Beijing found guilty of moving funds to private firms the pair controlled
  • Court rejects claims money was moved to prevent a funding gap
A Chinese scientist arrested in 2014 for embezzling more than 34 million yuan (US$4.3 million) of research funds has been sentenced to 12 years in prison.

Another case that highlights how seriously China is taking research misconduct.

Dr Li Ning, an expert in cloning and former director of the State Key Laboratory of Agrobiotechnology, was found guilty of illegally transferring the funds in the form of “investments” to several companies he controlled, though there was no evidence he spent any of the money on himself, the Intermediate People’s Court of Songyuan in northeast China’s Jilin province said in its verdict.

Li was also fined 3 million yuan, while his assistant, Dr Zhang Lei, was sentenced to five years and eight months in prison and fined 200,000 yuan on the same charge.

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‘Avalanche’ of spider-paper retractions shakes behavioural-ecology community – Nature (Giuliana Viglione | February 2020)0

Posted by Admin in on February 12, 2020

Allegations of fabricated data have prompted a university investigation and some soul-searching.

A complex web is unravelling in the field of spider research. On 5 February, McMaster University in Hamilton, Canada, confirmed that it was investigating allegations that behavioural ecologist Jonathan Pruitt fabricated data in at least 17 papers on which he was a co-author.

An earlier report of a single retraction leads to an avalanche and research misconduct investigations.

Since concerns about his work became public in late January, scientists have rushed to uncover the extent of questionable data in Pruitt’s studies. Publishers are now trying to keep up with requests for retractions and investigations. According to a publicly available spreadsheet maintained by Daniel Bolnick, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Connecticut in Storrs, seven papers have been retracted or are in the process of being retracted; five further retractions have been requested by Pruitt’s co-authors; and researchers have flagged at least five more studies as containing possible data anomalies.

Pruitt, who is reportedly doing field research in Australia and the South Pacific, told Science last week that he had not fabricated or manipulated data in any way. He did not respond to multiple requests from Nature for comment on the mounting list of retractions, or the accusation that he fabricated data.

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(Egypt) Professor Obbink and missing EES papyri – Egypt Exploration Society (October 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on February 8, 2020

On 25 June 2019 the Egypt Exploration Society (EES) posted a statement on its website that it was working with the Museum of the Bible (MOTB) to clarify whether any texts from the EES Oxyrhynchus collection had been sold or offered for sale to Hobby Lobby or its agents, and if so, when and by whom. This was in response to the online publication by Dr Brent Nongbri, following its release by Professor Michael Holmes of the MOTB, of a redacted copy of a contract of 17 January 2013 between Professor Dirk Obbink and Hobby Lobby Stores for the sale of six items to Hobby Lobby, including four New Testament fragments probably of EES provenance. This statement reports our findings to date.

Ever so often, you come across a research integrity story that feels like the synopsis of a thriller novel.

With the help of photographs provided by the MOTB, the EES has so far identified thirteen texts from its collection, twelve on papyrus and one on parchment, all with biblical or related content, which are currently held by the MOTB (see the attached list). These texts were taken without authorisation from the EES, and in most of the thirteen cases the catalogue card and photograph are also missing. Fortunately, the EES has back-up records which enable us to identify missing unpublished texts. For clarity, we note that the four texts specified in the handwritten list made public alongside the 2013 contract, which are probably the texts of that contract, remain in the EES collection, and two have been published as P.Oxy. LXXXIII 5345 and 5346.

The Board of Trustees of the MOTB has accepted the EES claim to ownership of the thirteen pieces identified to date, and is arranging to return them to the EES. The EES is grateful to the MOTB for its co-operation, and has agreed that the research on these texts by scholars under the auspices of the MOTB will receive appropriate recognition when the texts are published in the Oxyrhynchus Papyri series.

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