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Research fraud case UM-professor reopened

Research fraud case UM-professor reopened

Photographer:Fotograaf: Simone Golob

MAASTRICHT. The cardiology professor who was claimed to have committed fraud is to receive a fourth opportunity, outside the regular procedure, to defend herself. The request was made by the Executive Board. The Commission for Scientific Integrity had already completed its advice.

Greek PhD student Eleni Liapi has accused the cardiology professor, who work for research institute Carim and is her former supervisor, of manipulating images and enhancing several subsidy applications. Liapi complained to the Commission for Scientific Integrity about the matter in July 2019. They investigated the case over the past few months and asked an expert for advice; the latter wishes to remain anonymous.

The professor sent another written explanation to the commission on 16 January, far beyond the Commission for Scientific Integrity’s final date for the procedure. She states that she only now realises that this could jeopardise her career and previously was not specific enough in her reaction to the complaints. She was given this opportunity by Commission for Scientific Integrity on two occasions in October. A hearing followed in November, where she was allowed to have her say. The PhD student’s complaints evoked a “feeling of opposition” in her, she writes. She put them down as “absurd” and so didn’t take them serious enough. She is trying to set this right with a new seventeen-page long document – with a plethora of appendices and a witness statement from a laboratory technician.

Strikingly, when the professor’s letter arrived, the commission had already formulated its advice – later than the official term of twelve weeks. What should the commission do with this new information? The commission members, three UM emeriti professors, left this up to the Executive Board. But is this not a case of changing the rules of the game during the game? Spokesman Fons Elbersen does not agree. The Commission for Scientific Integrity’s complaints regulations do not contain any article about additional procedures, but it does state “in cases where there is no provision in this ruling,” the Executive Board decides.

Why did the Executive Board want to reopen the case? “Because of the importance” of the new information, Elbersen says, but also “due to the importance of all parties” and because of “utmost care”.

To weigh the importance, the document by the cardiology professor has at any rate been read by the Executive Board. Strange, says Liapi’s lawyer. In De Limburger he says: “We were informed that no items were exchanged between the commission and the Executive Board. That obviously has happened.” This whole procedure makes, according to him, “a very careless impression”. He also wants to see the initial advice.
Liapi will be given another chance in this urgent procedure to give a written reply. This may be followed by a second hearing. The commission will complete its new report within three weeks.



2020-02-03: Nico Rasters
This is how they do it in the UK:

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